To one, my great-grandmother was domineering. She wore the pants in the family. To another, she got over supposedly being an alcholic and stayed clean for twenty years until she allegedly got messed up a time or two with prescription drugs. To me, my great-grandmother was a chain-smoker who loved her family.
I spent a lot of time with my great-grandmother. It’s where I discovered my love for afternoon tea, books, and classic shows like Agatha Christie. I tried on her expensive perfume when she wasn’t looking, but I’m sure she knew about it. For a time, I struggled to piece together the reality of who she was and chose to remember her for who she was to me.
She seemed like a chain-smoker, who received a monthly shipment of Harlequin romance books, and read each one of them while stretched full-length across the couch. My great-grandmother had beautiful taste in furniture and art. The lamps themselves teased my imagination–the first indication of my ability to write. GeeGee played cards and volunteered excessively. But overall she loved me. It was a place I felt accepted laying down on the carpet with a cup of tea and a slice of pound cake. There was nothing I needed to prove, nowhere I needed to be, and no one I had to become to earn her love. When she died in her young eighties, I remember the funeral.
I set the loss far from me. Now as a Christian I often ask God if she is with Him. The one thing she didn’t talk about was Jesus. I don’t remember seeing a Bible in her apartment. I hope that she became a believer or was a believer. Religion seemed to be a private, even a social thing in my family.
But I choose now to believe in the GeeGee I remembered, disregarding the rumors or how she used to be, because you can’t fake acceptance. You can’t fake love. Real love endures, even if they mess up. I felt whole with GeeGee.
Tell me about your fondest memory of your grandparents.