She was always Grandma Wright, even before we were related. She was my Grandma Jennie's best friend, and every time I went to Oakland to see Grandma Jennie, we visited Grandma Wright, too. She'd lean over the counter at the distribution center and kiss my face. She smelled perfect - Oil of Olay, I discovered later.
She loves to laugh and watch old musicals and play games.
And drive fast.
And eat dessert first. (Life is short, she says.)
Mixed nuts and See's chocolates and a freezer full of ice cream, that is Grandma.
Not so much the vegetables.
Sweaters and jackets all summer long, because she doesn't like how her skinny arms look. But really nice sweaters and jackets. There's no such thing as a bargain if it's not beautiful.
Jewelry. Lipstick. And dignity.
Once she came with me to visit my great-Aunt Ruth in a care center. She said, "Oh, Becca. Close her mouth while she sleeps. Give her that, at least." These past couple of years, as Grandma has fallen asleep with her mouth open, I still think she's beautiful. But I help her shift her head so her mouth closes. Because I can give her that, at least.
I bring my daughter to play her violin for Grandma. Not often, not often enough. But it thrills our little Grandma, and she closes her eyes and clasps her hands and sways with the music. And laughs and gets a little groovy with the fiddle tunes. And experiences some sort of private worship with the hymns. And then opens, unclasps, and reaches. "Thank you, dear." Dear works when she no longer remembers our names.
When my cousin was visiting Grandma and catching up on our family, Grandma said, "Oh, Becca. She's the fun one." Clearly selective memory, but I'll take it.
My little Grandma has gone Home. She's left behind the body that grounded her for ninety-two years. Four wonderful grown children and piles of grands and greats. Her sweetheart, whose hearing aid always whistles for the pretty girls. A counter covered in mixed nuts and See's candies and a freezer full of ice cream. And our cracked hearts. And our memories.