Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Raised to the power of 2

I know that they usually say things come in threes, but for me, it has always been in twos. All the good things in my life, and the bad have come two-by-two, just like the animals boarding the ark.

My sister was born exactly two years after me, arriving on my birthday. My son was born two days before his sister's birthday. And this week, although she missed the "exact" part, my Grandma died two years after my Grampa.

She always was late, though. We used to tell her we had to be somewhere at least 30 minutes before we actually did - it was the only way to get her out of the house on time. I remember that we had a pool, kind of like a football pool, on their 35th wedding anniversary. We were all gathering at my Aunt's house in Nottingham, PA, and the adults were going to dinner and a show at the Three Little Bakers; the cousins were going to stay home. My Uncle made up a chart, and we all wrote in how many minutes late we thought Grandma and Grampa were going to be. I think my mother won, I don't remember, but it was always a family joke about Grandma being late. Grampa used to say that she would be late for her own funeral. I guess he was right.

Grandma started forgetting things about 4 years ago, and it got worse and worse. When Grampa died, she didn't realize it was her husband who had died. As awful as that seems, it was actually a blessing. See, they were completely devoted to each other, and had been married for over 65 years when Grampa died in 2004. He retired from the Coast Guard after 30 years of service when I was 5 years old. I don't think they spent a night apart, except for when one of them was in the hospital, for 35 years. She broke her leg at the end of last month, and the doctors said she wouldn't survive the surgery to repair it. There was little hope that it would heal on its own, since she had osteoporosis (go take a calcium supplement - right now - I'll wait). So they sent her home. I thought for sure she would die on July 1st - that was the anniversary of Grampa's death. But she hung around for another couple of weeks, and slipped away peacefully on July 18th. When she was running late, Grampa used to stand at the bottom of the stairs, and whistle for her. I imagine he was standing at the pearly gates whistling for her last week. She was late, but he waited for her, like he always did.

This picture was taken when they were still newlyweds. Grandma told me this was the day that she told Grampa they were going to have a baby. I think it was taken in the Norfolk, VA area. They rented a small room with a hotplate from an older woman. She used to tell Grandma that she liked "that sailor, even if he is a damned Yankee!"

1 comment:

Melissa said...

Your story made me cry. It reminded me a little of my great-grandparents.
I'm sorry for your loss.