She was born in New Orleans, one of many siblings. Her mother died when she was young. Her father almost immediately married and continued his family. She believed in voodoo and all that, though raised Catholic. She had a story for everything (which is probably where I get it from). She was a fit model for a while, for designers and buyers. She met my grandfather later and they fell in love. When he returned from the war, they married and moved to Buffalo. She got to see her first snowfall and hated snow after that. At 44, my grandmother’s physician helped arrange my mother’s adoption. This had to be pretty progressive in 1954.
I had a hard time dealing with her as a teenager, when she lived with us. I cared for her in ways I’d never want anyone to care for me. I learned a lot those years, but didn’t realize it until she was gone, as is usually the case. I often wish now that she were still here. Up until the last few months she was as sharp as a tack. Heart attacks, quad. bypass, diabetes and multiple TIA’s and strokes could not keep her down. She had a wit and a wicked sense of humor, though it often came across as acrid tongued. She was full of advice, and love, though it was often under a layer of bitterness. She was stubborn and argumentative, but once in a while, you had a conversation, a moment or an outing where she was herself. The way she was before she lost her husband, before she was lonely and sad, before she was full of pain.
She died seven years ago, at the age of 88. I was there when she passed away. It was the first and only time I ever saw anyone die. I was glad I was there, but to be honest, if I had it to do all over again, I’m not sure I would have chosen to be there. She had outlived my grandfather by 9 years and pined for him everyday after his death. We were glad that they could finally be together.
I wish she could have met my husband. (Although she would probably shout at him, because she was often flustered by people with disabilities and always talked louder around them.) I think they would have gotten along well, and I know she always wanted to live to see our weddings, even though she doubted she would.
I know that of everyone, she would understand me and what we’re going through now. Though we were separated by decades, I believe our infertility experience would have strengthened our bond. I know she would understand the intense pain and longing I often feel. Since she’s buried near the RE office, I often visit her grave with good and bad news of treatments and such. Somehow it makes me feel like someone is listening. She is missed.