My mother's mother was the only grandma I ever knew. And we were blessed that she lived just a tad (2 weeks) over 99 years.
I know my life has been enriched because I was able to have her for 44 years. It has been just over six months since she died. She was ready too go and died peacefully. She wasn't alone. It was as she had wished it would be.
And yet-it is still difficult for me. It is still surprising. I know it would seem sill or selfish to the average passer by, but I am still surprised she died. even as I type that statement, I know it seems unbelievable. It is just, well, I sort of thought that maybe my grandmother was eternal.
She was always there. A strong, comforting presence-even if she was only barely over 5 feet something and really rather small. By the time I was 11 I towered over her.
I am so fortunate that I have 40+ years of memories with her. But one of the most important could have been the most terrifying-for both of us. But it turned out okay. And we never talked of it again.
I am staying at her house. It could have been for the afternoon, maybe I had stayed over night. I'm not sure. I spent lots of time at her house. It was one of my favorite places to be.
She has made us sandwiches-roast beef, left over from one of her previous suppers, on white bread with a little lettuce and mayo. She cuts the sandwiches into triangles. I always think this is very fancy when she does this.
I am happily eating my lunch, when suddenly I am not. Something goes wrong-and I am choking-in a can not draw in any air, panicky, what will I do sort of way. And she reacts calmly and swiftly-not necessarily the way that one is trained to do in first aid today-but it was what she knew to do and it worked.
She always wore matching ensembles-house dress, shoes, polish, and lipstick. I can see her bright red talons coming at me. She pries open my mouth and snatches out the offending piece of beef, tears it right from my throat.
My throat is raw and I am shaky, but I don't cry. I am too surprised by what has happened. She gets me a drink and we slowly regroup. And we never speak of this again. As I look back now, I bet she was just as scared as I was in that moment-but she acted swiftly-and I never knew if she was or wasn't.
I think this is one reason why I always felt close to her-and believed she was capable of almost anything. If it hadn't been for her-I might not be here and able to write this at this moment.