I got some bad news last Wednesday when I found out that my grandma died. She was my mom’s mom and the only grandparent I’ve ever known. We left on Saturday to go to Missouri for the funeral, and just got back last night. I’m exhausted today.
It wasn’t entirely unexpected, but it’s still sad. I am sorry that she never got the chance to meet Evan, and that we didn’t visit very often because of the distance, and that I hadn’t seen her more recently when she passed away.
I realized how much it means to people when you recognize their loss. Sometimes you think it won’t make a difference, because they must have been getting so many comments and hugs and notes from other people… but they notice. My office sent flowers to the funeral home, which I found unexpectedly touching. Then, one of the pallbearers came up to me after the graveside service and asked me if I was her granddaughter. When I said yes, he shook my hand warmly and said with tears in his eyes, “She was a really great lady.”
I was so comforted knowing that she had been surrounded by people who knew and loved her. To me, she was always a somewhat distant figure because of the geography. I knew she loved us. I knew that based on the times we did see her, how she would struggle to hold back tears when we left. And because of how even when she was in her nursing home and not feeling well, that she would look at pictures of Evan and they always made her smile.
On the plus side (if there can be a plus side), there was plenty of family time and good home cooking. Honestly, when was the last time I ate fried chicken, creamed corn and mashed potato and bacon casserole - all in the same meal? My Ozark relatives sure know what’s up when it comes to comfort food. However, I saw about 300% more men wearing overalls than I have ever seen here.
When we drove from Southern Missouri back to St. Louis to catch our flight yesterday, I looked out and tried to soak up the rolling green Ozark hills, the tractors, the small towns and even the men wearing overalls, knowing that I might never be back there again.