I had planned on posting a recap of our recent vacation to Taos, NM, but life's circumstances dictated otherwise. Last week my grandmother from my dad's side passed away.
Unlike many of my friends, I did not grow up living in close proximity to any of my grandparents. My mom's parents lived in Washington and my dad's parents lived in Arizona (we lived in California). I still counted myself lucky, though, because until I was a sophomore in college, all four grandparents were living and pretty healthy. I have so many memories of visiting them while growing up. In AZ I experienced my first (and only) white Christmas, I watched my grandpa feed havelinas (wild hogs) from his front doorstep and learned how to play minesweeper. And my favorite part of visiting? Raiding the candy drawer and sleeping in the camping trailer. My memories of WA include playing in the forest behind their house (although I was really terrified of that forest), picking strawberries and huckleberries from the plants in the yard, the smells of my grandmother's cooking, and playing croquet.
The fall of my sophomore year, my grandfather (dad's dad) passed away pretty unexpectedly. It was really hard on me because it was the first time I had experienced the death of someone close to me. The winter just before Corey and I got my married by mom's mom lost a short battle with cancer. With these two I never saw them sick which I consider a blessing and a curse. My memories of them are happy but it was harder to cope with their deaths. My grandmother who just passed had been ill with Alzheimer's for many years. It's a horrible disease that took her mind slowly and cruelly. I remember the last time I saw her, she didn't remember who I was and I'm pretty sure she didn't recognize my parents either. It was a heartbreaking realization that the woman I knew was not really there anymore. While it was tough to lose her, I think I was able to cope easier with her death, knowing what she had been going through. Does that sound awful?
Corey and I were lucky to be able to travel east for her funeral. It was a bittersweet weekend. We got to spend time with my parents, siblings, nieces and my dad's side of the family (many of whom Corey hadn't yet met and who I haven't seen in years). It was a short, quick, tiring weekend but I am glad we made the trip.