In Loving Memory

This time a week ago, I was at the hospital, saying goodbye to Grandma C.

As you may imagine, this last week has been full of ups and downs. I’m not sure it has fully sunk it, but I’m reassured by the fact that she is no longer in pain.

Needless to say, I have been thinking about her a lot this last week. She was the most unconditionally loving person I have ever known.

Grandma C and her husband fostered many a troubled teenager, both officially and unofficially, even adopting a few. Each and everyone of those people remain a part of the family.

My father, my grandmother’s son, passed away when I was 6. A year or so later, my mom started dating my eventual step dad. My mother didn’t want Grandma C to know. She didn’t want her to think she was dishonoring her husband’s memory. One day, Grandma C, in her famous honesty, said, “You know, I know you are dating and you should go ahead and marry that man. You deserve a husband and those kids need a father.” From that day on, she loved my step dad as her son.

She loved me through each one of my teenage rebellions. Though famous for her sarcastic comments, Grandma C put up with my purple hair, goth eyeliner, homemade fashion nightmares, and fishnet phases. She loved me through it all, tolerating it far better than my mother.

I was reluctant to “come out” to Grandma C. She taught Sunday school and bible study, her bookshelves were crammed with Christian literature, she was 80-something and raised in the South. Homosexuality had to be a sin in her book. To top that off, I’d noticed a pattern of hidden racism in my grandparents. A gay granddaughter, dating a little half Mexican, half Filipino, who wore boys button-up shirts and ties- it would surely be too much!  I figured I’d just keep it vague, let her wonder. As it turns out, I didn’t have to come out.

One weekend, my girlfriend and I went to my aunt’s beach house. It was the two of us, my aunt, and my grandmother, in a beautiful three bedroom beach house. After bringing up our luggage, I went to introduce my girlfriend to my grandmother.

Grandma looked up from her Kindle. I said, “Grandma C, this is Dora. Dora, this is Grandma C.”

Nothing more, nothing less. No mention of “girlfriend” or “lover.”

Grandma C lit up, “It’s so nice to meet you,” she said. “I’m just glad someone can love my granddaughter,” she laughed, as she stood up to embrace Dora in a big bear hug.

“It’s not easy,” Dora retorted, “but I certainly try.”

So, there they were, making fun of me. That didn’t matter. What mattered was that my grandmother loved me, she loved my girlfriend, and she had it all figured out. Dora was always welcome at family dinners, holiday get-togethers, and even Grandma C’s death bed. Despite our breakup, to Grandma C, Dora was still part of the family.

A lot of people preach that Christianity is ultimately about love. Grandma C was one of the rare few who truly practiced what she preached. Though she will be sorely missed, I’m comforted by the fact that her legacy of love lives on. And I pray, in my nonreligious way, that more people will offer the world that same spirit of unconditional love.

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    • 5kidswdisabilities
    • February 1st, 2010

    I am soooooo sorry for your loss. Your Grandma C sounded like a wonderful woman! I recently experience the loss of my mom, so I empathize with how you feel.
    Lindsey Petersen
    http://5kidswdisabilities.wordpress.com check our Angels Among Us

  1. Wow. Your grandmother sounded amazing. I have some very special grandparents as well… this inspired me to appreciate them and spend time with them while they’re here.

    I love your site! You might like mine too… here’s my latest post: http://wp.me/pq3cW-gV Leave a comment if you can!

    God Bless,
    Jordan

  1. March 21st, 2010

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