Thursday, December 1, 2011

The phone call I won't make today...

Em & Grandma.

Dear Em,
Today is going to be a hard day for me. You see, there is a phone call I should be making today. I've made the call on this day every year for as long as I can remember. Just thinking about the call that I can't

Today is my grandma's birthday. Today is the first day in my life that I can't call my grandma & hear one of my favorite voices on her birthday, because Grandma passed away in April. It wasn't expected. There is a bitter feeling that sits in the pit of my stomach. It's a feeling of being robbed of more time with one of my most favorite people in the world. The bitter feeling subsides with the knowledge that my grandma did not suffer as she left this world & that she is in a better place.

It still hasn't quite set in. Every time I had a health related question, your grandma was my very first phone call. Last month when you had a fever for days, I reached for the phone at least 4,000 times & remembered mid-dial. My heart broke all over again.

Your great grandma was one of the most amazing people I will ever know. She was a single mother of 6 kids & still put herself through nursing school. She was always busy with work & hobbies & volunteering. There was so much that she did, but when she was with me, I always felt like at that moment I was the center of her universe. Grandma had a way of making people feel like that. She talked to EVERYBODY: In the check out line at the grocery store, in the elevator, in the waiting room of a doctor's office, at the next table in a restaurant. Grandma was always striking up conversations.

Grandma was the best to talk to. On the days where I was convinced your Nonnie & Papi did not & never could understand me, Grandma was my safe harbor. She always told me I could do whatever I set my heart & mind to, & I knew she believed it. She was sick in the hospital when I graduated from URI & gave the senior commencement speech. I knew she was cheering for me from her hospital bed, though. When she came to my MBA graduation ceremony, she beamed with pride. That meant everything. At that moment all the exams & all the presentations & all the projects & all the papers were 100% worth it. One of the people I most admired was proud of me. It's a feeling that I will remember forever.

I learned so much from Grandma. She is one of the smartest people I knew. Her small house was always lined with books. When I was little she told me that books could take me anywhere I wanted to go. She was delighted to see that books became my constant companion as well. When I was in 6th grade, she got me the most beautiful hardcover copy of Little Women. I loved that book & reread it every summer for years (as well as many other books written by Louisa May Alcott). One summer Grandma & I traveled to the house that Louisa May Alcott grew up in. We both relished in standing in the home where Louisa first learned to write. It was an amazing day, just Grandma & I.

Music was another thing that Grandma & I shared. Her house was also lined with music. She liked it all...well, most of it. Some of my happiest memories of grandma are those we shared listening to music. Her eyes sparkled as we "boogied" around her house. I grew up listening to the Cats soundtrack on her stereo & dreamed of the day when I could see such performances in person. When I got older, it was a dream come true to go to some of the broadway performances with my grandma by my side.

Did you know your daddy went with my Grandma to pick out an engagement ring for me? He knew that she was one of the most special people in the world to me...and she knew a lot about diamonds. So, they picked out a ring together. Grandma was the only one who knew the words Brian had in his heart...well, for the most part. Grandma had a hard time keeping good news a secret. So, Nonnie & Papi had an idea that good things would be coming my way.

When you were born, we gave you the middle name Keane, Grandma's maiden name. She was thrilled, not just because it was her name but because it was Irish. The more you grow, the more fitting a name I think it is for you. I see so much of my grandma in you. The way you say "hi" reminds us of her. You're already so smart & so stubborn, just like her. No one can tell you that you're too young or small or weak to be able to do something. You tackle each thing with such a sense of purpose. You talk to everyone, just like Grandma. You're sarcastic. I didn't know it was possible for an almost two year old to be sarcastic, but you are. I am as well. I got my sarcasm from my Daddy who got it from his Mommy (my grandma). You love to read. It makes me smile to think of how much my grandma would delight in reading with you. To think of the journeys the two of you could have taken with your books, sigh, it would have been magical.

It breaks my heart to know that you will never know her like I did.

So today I will spend a lot of time looking up at the sky & having birthday conversations with my grandma. I know she'll be looking down on us & smiling at how much you're a living reminder of her.

I love you & miss my grandma more than I can express in words. I'm so thankful for every day I had with her on earth & am a better person because of her. I hope you have someone who is what my grandma has always been for me.

I love you so,

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