Our Five Ring Circus: Nine long years

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Nine long years

It has been nine years since my Grandma passed away.

I still miss her terribly. Yes, the pain has eased over the years, but there will always be an empty place in my life, where she once was.

My Grandma lived next door to my parents, so I spent hours with her every day. We had an amazing bond, and I actually spent more time with her than I did with my parents.

She was a beautiful person. Everybody loved her. She had more energy in her 70's than most people ever have. She taught me how to ride a bike and do a cartwheel. I do not recall a single time that she ever raised her voice to me.

I would walk over to her house every day, after dinner. I would sit with her, while she watched jeopardy. During commercial breaks, we would talk about everything, and share a bowl of gumdrops.

I met my husband in what would be my Grandma's final year. I was young, and in love, and spent a lot less time with her. She found out she had cancer, and didn't tell anybody. She refused treatment, and just lived her life as normal. A few days after Christmas, in 1999, she was hospitalized, and we found out the truth.

I was busy with performing in musicals and planning my wedding, but I tried to see her as often as possible. I think I subconsciously pushed aside the thought that the end was near, refusing to accept the truth. She was my rock, and would always be there.

On the morning of February 18, 2000, my mom received a call from the hospital, and told me that I should go see her, because she wasn't doing well. I decided I was going to go back to bed for a while, and then go visit.


I went back to bed.

Something woke me up, and I realized I had to go see her. I walked into her room, and she was unconscious. I walked over to the bed, said hello, and kissed her cheek. Just seconds later, she passed away.

I don't remember much from that day, because my grief consumed me, but I do remember my aunt hugging me, and whispering in my ear, "She was waiting for you. She couldn't leave until you were there."

I don't have many regrets in life, but I do wish I had spent more time with her in her final year, and definitely more time with her while she was in the hospital. There are so many little questions that I wish I had asked her.

I know my Grandma was missing the time she spent with me, and I am so sorry if I hurt her. I know that she was happy for me, though, and happy that I found the man I was going to marry.
All I can do is take comfort in the fact that she knew I loved her more than anything.

This past December, on her birthday, I took the kids to the cemetery. I hadn't been there in a year. I struggled to find her grave marker in the thin layer of snow. Once there, I held my children in the protective circle of my arms, and we sang Happy Birthday to her. Tears were streaming down my cheeks, because one thing I wished more than anything was that my kids could have known this amazing woman.

Dylan asked why I was crying, and I tried to explain the best I could. In one of his unbelievable moments, Dylan kissed his hand, placed it on the grave marker, and said, "I love you, mommy's Grandma." Not wanting to be outdone by her brother, Lexie, too, placed her hand on the grave. I put mine on top of theirs, and we sat completely still for a moment.

Once in the car, I began telling my kids all about their wonderful Great Grandma. It was the least I could do.

She may not be here in person, but she lives in my heart and memories, and I will tell my children all about one of the people I loved most in this world.

Nine long years have gone by, and many more will pass, but one thing is for certain. I will never forget the happiness, joy, and love she brought to my life.


  1. Thank you for sharing, Stef. That was really beautiful.

  2. That was really beautiful. I am glad you had your husband during a really hard time in your life.

  3. Stef, I'm very sorry for your loss. I hope you can take comfort in knowing that she's probably very proud of you for the amazing mom and wife you've become. Big big hugs sweetie.


  5. I'm so very sorry for your loss. Sounds like she was an awesome lady! I'm sure she knew how much you loved her.

  6. That was beautiful! Grandparents are special people. Take care.


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