And today (Dec. 21), my Grammy Ann (my Dad's step-mom) passed away after her courageous battle with breast cancer.
It's also my older brother's birthday. I'm not sure where that comes into play.
When I learned my Grandma had cancer earlier this year, I just always figured she'd beat it. Grammy Ann was a feisty lady, full of good humour and life. I can remember as a small child, how much she loved to laugh. I just learned from my uncle that up until a few months ago, she was still doing Tai Chi.
More than anything, she loved the Lord. During one of our last conversations she lamented about how young people are falling away from their faith. At an age when most people are stuck in their ways, my Grandma was all about trying to find ways to make church appeal to younger generations.
Grammy Ann and I would talk on the phone every few months or so. For 20 minutes. Almost exactly 20 minutes every time. Her choice, not mine. I could hear her start to wind the conversation down at about the 15 minute mark, and the cheeky side of my personality always wanted to see how much longer past the 20 minute mark I could keep her on the phone. The dutiful Granddaughter in me would never do such a thing.
I still cannot believe she's gone. Even after I heard the cancer had spread to her liver and that she was in the hospital with pneumonia, I thought she'd be okay. Grammy Ann was just like that; spirited and larger than life. I thought she'd be around forever.
It had been on my mind to call her. Every time I thought about it, it was too late at night and I didn't want to risk waking her up. I didn't know she was in the hospital until a few weeks ago, and never had the chance to talk to her one last time. When I talked to my uncle a few days ago, she was too weak to talk, so I sent her an email for him to read to her with a bunch of pictures of Elise.
It makes me sad that Elise never got to meet this impressive woman. I am sad that she's gone, that there will be no more 20 minute phone conversations which I try to extend with a mischievous grin on my face. Sad by the reminder that this is what happens as the years slip by; as your family tree is expanding beneath you, the upper branches are wilting away.
But it gives my heart good cheer to know she is now cancer-free and doing a little Tai Chi with Jesus in heaven.
Because you know Jesus loves Him some Tai Chi.
Good bye, Grammy Ann... you are already very missed.Christmas dinner 10 years ago. Grammy Ann is the lovely lady in red.