Monday, September 10, 2012


Gram about age 15
For the second time in one year and 4 months, I am facing the pain of loosing someone that I loved so much, my Gram.  How do I sum up the life my Gram lived that was so full and also sometimes painful and challenging.  My Gram was an awesome lady with so much strength and the ability to handle extremely stressful events.  I have written some posts on this blog here and here, about myself and my Gram and how I discovered that we were both artists at heart. 
I want to share this story with you about my relationship with my Gram and how we bonded over many years.

One day about 2 1/2 months ago and after my Gram became very ill, she still wanted to cook and she had stuffed peppers on her mind.  Gram had these red peppers in the frig and she thought we would make it with them.  So, Gram got all the ingredients she needed in her slow moving way.  Bread crumbs, onions and spices.  She asked me "how should we cook them?"  I suggested that we cook them in the oven in a pyrex dish with some water in ther pan. 

I am not a cook.  I find it to be overwhelming.  But my Gram was a brilliant cook and everything she made was to die for.  She could cook anything and everything and she managed to feed five children cooking everything in one pot as we were growing up.  So, we mixed the ingredients together in a bowl and preheated the oven to 350 degrees.  The red peppers were small and we cut them in half. We scooped the mixed ingredients inside the small red peppers.  Gram said they "looked good".  We put the peppers inside the dish and I placed them in the oven.  We sat and waited for them to cook.

I kept checking the peppers and they seemed to be cooking okay, but they were not cooking fast enough so Gram said to raise the temperature to 400 degrees.  She was surely a 'rebel'.  I turned the black knob and raised the temperature hoping that they would cook well.  Again,we waited.  I was becoming discouraged with how they looked so I took them out and my Gram thought that they were done. I put the pyrex dish on a hot plate for them to cool.  I got plates, forks and knives for us.

Well, Gram took the peppers out of the pyrex dish and placed them on our plates.  She said, "oh, they look good".  I was secretly feeling dissappointed because they didn't look good to me.  But Gram just kept telling me they were good as she ate one of the stuffed peppers.  I felt inside that they weren't right, but because Gram was saying that they were good, I thought they were okay after all.

Gram and me at my wedding
Sadly, my Gram passed away August 27th and she lived three weeks just shy of her 99th birthday.  She wanted to live to 100 but her little heart finally gave out and she got on the bus with Jesus to heaven to see her much adored Portugese Prince (as my brother calls him) my grandfather.  Gram told us that she was going to miss all of us and I told her that we would all be okay and one day she will be waiting for us to join her.  When I talked to her the night before she passed away I told her as I told my Mom 16 months ago,  "go towards the light, Gram.  When you see it, go towards the light"

Gram and Grandpa (The Portuguese Prince)

Gram and Grandpa, again
Two weeks ago was her beautiful funeral service.  I made display photo boards to illustrate the 98 years she lived.  They were the best I could do and I was proud to be able to use my creative talent to honor Gram's memory.  My younger brother gave the eulegy.  It was beautiful. 

At the funeral dinner on Thursday night, I mentioned to my brother Ken, who was very close to Gram, that I made the stuffed peppers with her.  I told him that I didn't think that they came out very well but Gram didn't say anything to let me know she thought so.  She knew all along that my suggestion on how to cook them was not good, however she never told me so. When I told my brother  he smiled and said, "I know, Gram told me".

This may sound like this is a simple story about cooking stuffed peppers, but it is more than that. I think it is a story about the character of a woman and how she kept her thoughts to herself when she saw I was making a mistake because she didn't want to hurt my feelings.  Gram knew that we were experiencing a moment together and it could be the last. It was the first time we had ever tried to cook together so as Ken told me, Gram knew we were cooking the peppers wrong, my heart filled up with much saddness and much joy.
Gram and me in her kitchen.  Her funny bird in the back.

Gram and me.  She was so happy
Today, I am missing my Gram so much and I am missing all we shared over the years. From raising me and my siblings since I was 7 years old, to my teenage years that we used to butt heads and the distance in my 20's.  I have come around to know just how special my Gram was.  I wish I had more time to spend with her, but she had lived so long of a life and she was being called to meet her loved ones. 

I am thinking of my Gram and all we experienced together.   I am missing her expressions and her touch. Gram and I did art projects together and created many things.  I brought pretty things to show her such as lovely patterened paper and fabric because I knew how much she loved to look at them. I brushed her hair and sprayed beautiful perfume on her wrists. I sat with her on the sofa and held her hand as we watched the cooks on the Food Network Channel.  We watched the mass together on the Christian Channel that she loved so much.  I remember one night that we watched episodes of 'Reba' and Gram laughed and laughed.  It made me smile inside to see her laugh.

One of the last nights before she passed away, I was getting ready to leave for the night and Gram said out of no where in her Gram way, "Let's have some Cheerios!"  So I sat down and said "sure Gram let's"  So Gram and I sat at her kitchen table and I ate 3 bowls of Cheerios with her.  She ate 1 bowl. As I ate each spoonful, I was thinking to myself... "It doesn't get any better than this. I will never look at Cheerios the same way again"

I know I will always carry my Gram's memory in my heart and I will think of all we shared.  I will write posts about her and about things we did together and about how she raised my siblings and myself and literally saved our lives. 

Gram and me taking a Thelma and Louise photo.  We were having fun.

Another photo of us playing around
Gram playing around at Christmas
                                                Gram and baby Isabelle.  She LOVED babies!
Gram pointing to a paper boat she made.  She loved making them

I love you so much,
your granddaughter and your friend

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