My step-grandmother died last night. I've never lost a grandparent before, and it's a little strange to be starting with this one. She's been my grandmother for eighteen years, but I never really felt the connection as I did with my mom's parents. Nonetheless, I do love her, and I know she cared for me.
She was an interesting woman. I've only ever none her as a retiree who valued her independence, enjoyed her retirement community in Grapevine, and loved to go bowling. She smoked, and laughed, and loved to be the center of attention. I think there was always a little bit of awkwardness there because of my stepdad's relationship with her. Strained isn't really the right word...but I think he always had some resentment towards her for abandoning him and his two brothers to go start another family with another man. She left them with their dad and an abusive stepmother and a lot of emotional scars. Knowing that made it hard to ever form the traditional child/grandparent bonds. However, she wasn't a bad woman and I know she lived a full life, and it was definitely her time to go. She was in a lot of pain over the last few months...in and out of the hospital...and was taken to hospice care late last week and only given a few more weeks to live, at most. Pancreatic cancer was the leading ailment, and what eventually caused her death, although she also had emphysema and some other problems. Her body just wore out.
The only other death in the family I've ever been through was her son, my stepdad's closest brother, who died when I was in college. I'm not practiced on this (though do you ever really get to be that way?). I don't really know how to feel. I'm sad, but am I sad enough? Am I too sad? I know there's no right answer. The last time I saw her was a few months ago, in the hospital. We talked a little about the wedding, a lot about bowling. My parents and I ate at Luby's afterwards. I'll say goodbye to her in a few days. I'll probably cry, because that's what I do.
I love you, Granny Jane.