My Goodbye to Grandma

by Lois Etienne on October 12, 2010

in Grandmothers

Jim Prophet, Community Service Representative at Home Instead Senior Care in Spokane, WA, recently wrote about the loss of his grandmother.  This is his loving tribute to her:

You never forget where you are when you receive the news.  I had just stepped out of the shower when the phone rang.  And while I was not the one to answer it, I knew what the conversation was.  There is a certain tone that a person takes when receiving and then preparing to pass along tragic news.  I open the bathroom door to come out into the bedroom just as Tracey was ending her conversation.

Grandma Tess has passed on.

There is not an adequate word to describe my emotions as I went through the routine of getting dressed for work.  I can’t tell you I was expecting her death, but I wasn’t really surprised.  Nor could I fully embrace this as a tragedy any more than I could call it a blessing.  So what was it.

I made the decision to continue my day as normal as possible.  I went to work.  And for the most part, I spent the day on employment auto pilot, doing whatever it is I usually do.  But every once in a while, I found my mind wandering in a rain forest of memories, trails that covered 37 years of existence and even beyond.  And then I realized where I was.  It was an ending.  Like turning the page to see the final paragraph of a book that was so good that you wanted the story to continue on, and on.

You won’t find better Grandparents than those who lived in a mustard yellow house across the street from Franklin Park. And while every set of parent’s parents is special in their own right, a person could live a hundred life times and not find family so great to hang out with.  And while there were things that I had not done in years, nor would ever do again, Grandma’s death symbolized finality to a part of my life that meant so much to me.

There would be no more taking my cousins and little sister across the park to the swings.  No more secluding myself in the bed room to watch cable TV only to come out at meal time to eat with the men in the living room while the women packed like sardines chatted up a storm in the kitchen.  There would be no more Christmas Eve’s with half a dozen adults and four little kids dressed in new pajama’s, all packed into a room the size of a walk-in closet, tearing into bags of presents grandma had started shopping for in June.   And gone is the endless supply of caffeine free pop in the fridge, popsicles and Dove bars in the freezer and chocolate chip cookies she somehow managed to make flat as wafers.

I am not going to be able to take my friends over any longer and watch as grandma forced them to consume a pop, cookie, dove bar or perhaps all three at the same time.  I won’t hear her call me a genius when I happen to get one or two questions correct while watching Jeopardy.  And I am not going to be able to just walk across the street to play soccer.  Dinners at the Onion, Halloween, 4th of July, Birthday’s, a “small” slice of pie, as well as a thousand other things will now all be different as well.

I will miss grandma, but I must admit, it would be selfish of me to want her to continue living just so that I wouldn’t have to deal with the loss.  She lived a full and meaning full life.  What more could you want, what more could a grandson ask.

So what am I to do?  Reminisce, laugh, cry, perhaps all of the above.

Most importantly, I should not forget.  Every day things like how to stay calm when someone tips over a near full can of Pepsi.  How to worry, like when a grandson stays out all night fishing and doesn’t tell grandma what time to expect him home.  And how to give, and give and give, without any expectation or strings.

So here I am at an end.  And if for some reason I was allowed some final request, it would be to give a hug on the way out the door and say thank you.  Thank you grandma for all that you have given to me.

Your Grandson,


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