My grandmother passed away this afternoon. The last few months of her life she was very ill and sadly, her family and dear friend were in conflict around her, as sometimes grief and fear do not bring out the very best in people. I will not dwell on that. Her family loved her and now in her absence, we continue to love each other.
She had a long life, spent entirely in Trenton, NJ, which (if you know Trenton) is an accomplishment in itself. She saw the world change so much in her 90 years and showed me that having fun and doing things your own way are not the providence of the young. She loved the Yankees and especially Derek Jeter. She was an amateur trash talker (Yankees fan, so obviously). She travelled, she gambled a lot, and won more than a normal person should.
She would occasionally say things that were both inappropriate and hilarious (for example, anything that was a big mess she would refer to as a "Polish picnic"). She introduced me to really good Italian food, and taught me to cook the things that will bring me home for the rest of my life, no matter where I am.
She conditionally baptized me as a Catholic against my parents' wishes and didn't really care that it bothered them. She was there for me as a little kid when I really, really needed her. I knew her well, but also not all, as her life was mystery to me (like the time she handed me a red formal dress and said: "Oh, I wore this to President Johnson's Inaugural Ball - take it.").
She appreciated being comfortable and the value of home. She always insisted on having the best she could get. For some reason, she thought I was the best. As her favorite grandchild, she saw only the best in me (even when I did not deserve it) and the strength of her love allowed me to see her and know her at her very best.
I will miss her, and always be grateful for her, and am so glad she is no longer suffering. I pray that she rests in peace and that for her sake, there is both casino gambling and major league baseball in heaven.
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