My grandma would have been 87 today. Most special person in my life and I miss her every day. I can't even remember how long she's been gone. I suppose physically it's been 4 years, but I really lost her long before that. She suffered through altzheimer's for many years, much too young. Such an intelligent woman, loosing her memory of those she loved. I remember once when she was in the nursing home and she looked at me with those piercing green eyes and said "I don't know who you are, but I sure do like you." Those words, from the woman who raised me, who taught me, who loved me.
Those words from a woman who was before her time. Who stood for women's rights before they were women's rights. I remember her sending me to school in the below zero weather in pants in a day when girls were not allowed to wear pants. And the school spending minute after minute trying to determine if my shirt was long enough that I could take my pants off or if they had to find a way for me to get home. This didn't happen once or twice, but several times. I wonder why I kept on going to school in those pants?
I had used her last name for as long as I could remember, and I remember that day in kindergarten when for roll call a stranger's name was called. Same first name......another April in my class I pondered? Finally I realized that stranger was me. And my Grandma's response was to stand firm that I would use the last name that I had choosen, regardless of it's legality. The report cards, they still showed that stranger's name but I never heard it whispered out loud again.
I miss her. I'm not sure she really ever knew the real me. But I know she knew how much I loved her, how much I respected her. And I know how she loved me. So today, on this anniversary of her birth, I just want to remind her that I still love every day. Happy Birthday Grandma.