Dear Gram ♥


“I just called to say I love you,
I just called to say how much I care,
I just called to say I love you,
And I mean it from the bottom of my heart.”
~Stevie Wonder, “I Just Called To Say I Love You”

Dear Gram,

It’s been twelve days, and every one of them has seemed a little less sunny without your beautiful smile to light up the world. It seems strange to think that image will only dance in our memories and beam over at us from pictures from now on. The thought of not being able to hug you, to talk with you, to just call to say I love you … it’s unbearable. Everyone says the heartbreak will get easier with time, that eventually we’ll be able to look back on the memories with happiness instead of hurt, but that seems impossible right now. Still, though, I think of those memories anyway. I let them run through my mind and try as hard as possible to draw comfort from them. I’m so lucky to have had you for twenty-seven years, so blessed beyond measure. You were – and will always continue to be – more than my precious Gram. You were my hair cutter, my chicken soup maker, my sewing extraordinaire, and, most importantly, one of my dearest friends. My head understands that you’re not by our sides anymore, but my heart … it’s not there yet. I don’t know if it ever will be.

Gram1

When I think of you, I think of trips to Baskin Robbins, where you’d always get Rocky Road ice cream, your favorite. I think of you giving me ice cream when I was younger and suggesting I dip pretzel sticks into it, because that made it all the better. I think of the countless bowls of chicken soup you made me, the afternoons I used to spend organizing your sewing box as a kid, the way you were there for every big moment in my life and all the small ones, too. I remember walking with you on the boardwalk, you letting me win at checkers when I first learned how to play and then you beating me four times in a row at Go Fish just last summer, our shopping trips out and our lunches in. I remember you singing to me, reading to me, loving me.

Gram2

You got so much joy from your family, and even though I’m writing this now with tears trickling down my cheeks, I’m also writing with fullness in my heart. Because that’s what you blessed our family with: all the love, contentment, and joy that anyone could ever hope to have. You said something a few months ago that will stay with me always, that you were so glad our family is yours. Well, Gram, I am so glad you were – and will forever be – mine. You have touched my life in ways words cannot explain. I came across an old note from you the other day, a beautiful one, and even though I can’t bring myself to read it again just yet, it’s sitting in my room and that brings comfort. Your picture smiles at me from a prominent spot on my writing desk – I still remember the night we took it at the shore – and your love lives inside me every moment.

Gram3

You have been my champion, my rock, my support, my friend, and my dear, dear Gram. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of you or wish you were here. We’re struggling to get by without you, but we’ll make it, because that’s what you’d want. We’ll channel your strength and determination, promise. It will always hurt my heart that you didn’t get a chance to read these most recent two books of mine – I wanted so badly to share them with you these past few months, but you were dealing with too much and I knew it was best to hold off until you were feeling better – but I hope, somehow, you’ll be able to read them someday. Writing has been my salvation through the past few months, and I just thought you should know I wrote a scene the other day where Sofie makes potato salad from her grandmom’s recipe. Maybe she’ll tackle chicken soup one day, too :)

I’m going to finish that blanket you were knitting me, even though I’m the least crafty and artistic person ever. I’m going to think of you every time I eat a chocolate-covered marshmallow or watch General Hospital. I’m going to remember the way you always asked me to call after driving home, just so you knew I was safe. I’m going to cherish the feeling of your arms around me, your kiss on my cheek, and the safety and unique kind of love that only a grandparent can provide. And one day I’m going to do these things with a smile instead of tears. I don’t know when that’ll be, but I promise I’ll work on it.

Gram5

Thank you so much for everything you’ve done for me and for being there unconditionally. I miss you so much. I love you so deeply. You’re my heart, Gram, and you always will be.

Love you forever and a day,

Your Jellybean

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19 thoughts on “Dear Gram ♥

  1. Shari,
    I was reading this with tears running down my face when my Mom walked in my room, and asked me what was wrong.

    Your words are so beautiful. You write with such incredible eloquence. Your words always move me. I hope you never, ever forget that you and an absolutely precious and God-given gift to inspire and move people with your words, Shari. Keep writing. :)

    And as for your Gram, I felt like I knew her reading your words. I was helping the kids I nanny for’s Mom last night until 1am with a slideshow for sweet Olivia’s Bat Mitzvah. There were so many pictures of her with her Grandparents, and I said to Julie “I hope your kids know how blessed they are to have all four of their Grandparents be such a huge part of their lives”. As I said it, I got choked up. I never knew any of my Grandparents. They live in my heart through stories that have been passed down to me. I have been told my whole life that I am so much like my Nana. I can hardly see through the tears I am crying right now. I would give anything to give my Grandparents a hug, to know their love.

    I can only imagine the pain you feel in your heart right now. But Shari, how abundantly blessed you were to know and have your Gram for 27 years! You have a lifetime of love and memories to sustain you, and a love that will ALWAYS be yours. Time will pass and your life will continue to blossom into all that you dream. You will continue to pursue your writing dreams, to love your family and friends in the beautiful way that you do, and to live a life that matters… all the while, with your Gram’s memory and love at the heart of everything you do.

    I will continue to pray for you as you work through and feel your grief. Grief is such a long and difficult journey. It is the same for no one, and we all process our losses differently. Let yourself feel what you feel, but take heart and be of good cheer knowing that you had 27 beautiful years to share life with your Gram, and that she is at peace, and will forever be a part of you.

    I love you and am here if you need anything<3

    • Oh, Katie … there aren’t words to express how deeply your comment moved me. Your writing always does, because you have a true gift for getting to the heart of the matter, but with this, it’s like you were able to shine light on such a dark time.

      I will forever be grateful and so, so blessed to have had 27 beautiful years with Gram. I know how lucky I am for that, and I’m thankful every day. It makes me so sad to know that you haven’t been able to have the same experience. You are such a compassionate, kind, good-hearted person, and I only wish you could know your grandparents through more than just the stories. Know what, though? They know your love somehow, they do. They would be so proud of you, and in their own way, they are right now. Because you are someone to be proud of, no doubt about it. Just as Gram will forever be a part of me, they’re a part of you, too. They live on in your heart and spirit.

      Thank you for everything … your unconditional support means the world.

  2. Shari, this is such a beautiful post. I am sitting here holding back tears because I know exactly how it feels to lose a grandparent. I think she is so proud of you and will cherish every single memory that she had with you. You have to remember all of the good times that you shared with your grandmom. Those are the ones that make healing somewhat easier.

    I lost all of my grandparents a long time ago. I was very close to my mom’s mom and I was devestated when she passed. It hurts that I don’t have grandparents and that they won’t be there to celebrate with me on my wedding day. I know that they are always with me and cherish every moment I spent with them.

    My thoughts are with you and your family during this hard time! If you need anything, feel free to email me. I am always here to listen. Stay strong <3

    • Thank you so much for all the kind words and good thoughts. They truly mean more than I can explain. I credit the support of amazing people like you for helping me get through this. Y’all bring comfort amidst the sadness.

      You’re so right about remembering all the good times. Sometimes it’s still so painful to do that, because they’re a reminder of things that can’t happen again, but they’re all so precious and beautiful. In time, I hope they’ll bring all smiles and no tears. It’s impossible not to be devastated, because I was so close with Gram (my mom’s mom, too), and the thought of her not being here to share in everything from now on … it’s unbearable. When I think of all the milestones still to come, it hurts my heart that she and my other grandparents won’t be there for them. But, like you said, our loved ones are always with us and we need to cherish the moments we did have. I know your grandparents will be smiling down on you on your wedding day. They’ll be there in spirit and you’ll feel their unconditional love.

      Thank you again for everything <3

  3. Shari, I’m so sorry for your loss. One of my grandmother’s passed away in ’05 & I’m still not over it. I understand how you feel. Remember all of the good times you had & keep them close to your heart, they’ll help you smile.

    -Ashley

    • You know, I don’t think it’s possible to ever truly get over something like this. There are some losses you just always feel – but, like you said, it helps to remember the special times and keep them locked in your heart. It’s such a gift to have them.

      Thank you so very much for all the kind words.

  4. This was such a sweet post, Shari. I definitely teared up a lot and have chills running down through my body. I know there is nothing I can say to heal the pain, but just know you have people who love and support you always. Your Gram is looking down on you and smiling because your draft is done and she’s going to give you such inspiration for whatever you write next. All of these emotions you’ve been going through will only deepen your writing and maybe that’s a blessing in disguise. (I hope that came out the right way)

    Keep up your amazing strength & I’m always here. <3

    • I’m being completely honest when I say it’s having love and support from friends like you that’s getting me through this. You all are like a security blanket that shelters me against all the pain. And what you wrote – the idea of Gram smiling because the draft is finished and her being inspiration for my continued writing – it gave me goosebumps. There was just something about it that I can’t quite explain. She was one of my biggest supporters and I’ve already worked her into the DE draft – but the idea of her always being that constant inspiration, it’s such a comfort.

      Thank you for everything. It means the world <3

  5. I wish so much I knew what to say. I am so sorry for your loss. Your Gram sounded like a wonderful person. One day, I promise, it will be easier to smile, and I think losses like this, they get – well, easier isn’t the right word. It gets more bearable. But you will smile more one day and recall most of your memories with Gram with a warm (though wistful) happiness in your heart. No matter how many years we get with our loved ones, it never feels like enough, but one day you will be sharing stories with your children about their Great Gram. I’m sure your Gram is looking down on you right now, and I have no doubt she will find a way to read the books you have yet to share with her and all the beautiful ones you haven’t yet written. She is with you always, both in a spiritual way, and by being engrained in your personality. By the way you describe her, it seems as though some of your very best pieces have a lot to do with her. Hang in there. We’re all here for you.

    • Well, I wish I could find some way to thank you for your constant support and friendship not only throughout this whole awful ordeal, but throughout all the good times, too. It amazes me to think we’ve only known each other for a little over a year, because it truly feels like it’s been forever. Like we’ve talked about before, I really think we’re so similar in how we view things, and that makes your comment about me sharing Gram’s traits even more meaningful. There hasn’t been much lately that makes me smile, but that did, because I love the idea of her being ingrained in my personality.

      I’ve heard the phrase “time heals all wounds” so often, but I’m not sure the scars from this will ever fully fade. Maybe they shouldn’t. Maybe they can’t. But I’ll believe what you said, that it gets more bearable, and look forward to the day I can think of the memories with a warm happiness again. My children will absolutely know all about their dear, special Great Gram one day. And me, I’m so lucky to have had 27 years with her. You’re right, it doesn’t feel like nearly enough, but I’m hanging on to the hope that somehow, some way, she’s still here with us in spirit. The books I write from here on out will be for her.

      Thank you again, Aly, for … for everything. It means the world <3

  6. Shari … tears and joy run out of me from the way you write about the love you feel for your Gram.. no matter how much it hurts right now .. be thankful for all the memories you will always share ..some people never have that.. I am so sorry for your loss but I know you will have comfort everyday in your memories and when u put that blanket u finish on u at night. Thanks for sharing her life with us and my comfort and prayers go to you. Xoxo Kimmie

    • I count my blessings every day for having had twenty-seven special years with her and for all the beautiful memories we’ll always share. In some ways, that makes the pain worse right now, but when it comes down to it, I will forever be indescribably grateful for the joy of having had her as such a special part of my life. She was – and is – one of the best, most incredible people I’ve ever known, and it makes me so glad to have been able to share her life and spirit even in some small way. That brings comfort, and so do the memories … and so will that blanket one day, absolutely.

      Thank you so very much for all the prayers and kind wishes, Kimmie. They are so appreciated <3

  7. This is so, so sweet and beautiful. It made me cry, and I didn’t even know her. Yes, you were lucky to have her, but you know what? She was lucky to have you, too. And I have a feeling she knew it, as Stevie Wonder would say, “from the bottom of her heart”.

    • Oh, Caryn … your comment literally gave me chills, that’s how touching it is. “I Just Called to Say I Love You” was my song with Gram for as long as I can remember, and what you wrote honestly got to me in a way words cannot explain. I will forever be grateful that Gram knew how much we all adored her – and that we all felt her abiding love, too.

      Thank you again for your constant support and friendship. It is a true blessing <3

  8. Shari,
    Your post was incredibly moving. Your grandmother sounded like a wonderful, loving lady. Your entry brought tears to my eyes. I never knew my grandparents but having seen my parents with my nieces and nephews, I can understand the amazing love and devotion that exists between grandparents and grandchildren. I’m sure your grandmother is still watching over you and your family.

    • Thank you very much, both for the kind words and for your constant support through this all. Your emails and sweet note meant so much. Gram was one of the best people I’ve known, always with a smile and such love in her heart. It still seems unfathomable that she’s not here, but I take comfort in the idea of her watching over us.

      I’m so deeply sorry you never had the chance to know your grandparents. That’s a blessing everyone deserves. I truly believe, though, that there’s a part of them that lives in you every day. They help make you who you are, and they’re smiling at you all the time.

      Thanks again for everything. Looking forward to seeing you on Wednesday!

  9. Pingback: Looking Back & Looking Forward. « Shari Speaks

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