Month 52

Month 52

Dear Olivia,

Your Great-Grandmother Sparks passed away last night.  It wasn’t a surprise by any means – in fact her health had been declining steadily since the holidays.  Despite knowing that her prognosis wasn’t good, it’s still something you can never quite prepare yourself for.  Perhaps one day you will know what I’m talking about.  Death can bring such a grab bag of emotions that you’ll never really know how you’ll respond when you hear the dreaded news that the person you love has passed. 

I personally want to thank you for taking a liking to your Great-Grandma these last few months when it would have been very easy for you to shrug her off as just another random relative you see every so often.  There was a time that you cried uncontrollably and clung to me with all your life upon seeing her and I understand – old people can look scary.  Their wispy hair is often disheveled, they move in long slow motions and they often smell medicinal.  Your wonderful Great-Grandma was no stranger to these attributes.  I of course would feel tremendously awful every time you had this reaction because I know it hurt her feelings.  She would carry on that it wasn’t a big deal and she understood but nobody wants to feel like a monster.  Unfortunately, Miles did not warm up to her and never got within two feet of her without crying for help.

Something happened this past September at your Great-Grandma’s ninetieth birthday celebration because you suddenly adored her and didn’t mind being at her side.  I have never seen Great-Grandma so happy.  I thank you from the bottom of my heart for showing her affection all on your own.  These small acts of kindness can really make a difference in someone’s life and I hope you remember that as you continue on your own journey.  You played a very special part in your Great-Grandma’s life and you made her feel tremendously loved.

You most likely won’t remember much about Great-Grandma but I want you to know that she was a wonderful loving woman.  You never met your Great-Grandpa but the two of them together were so comical.  Your Great-Grandpa was “hard-of-hearing” so to speak so my Grandma would take us in to the kitchen to talk gossip on him and the family and it was as if a miracle fell upon the household because despite your Great-Grandma whispering, Great-Grandpa would miraculously hear again and fill us in on his two cents from the other room.  I believe your Great-Grandma knew his tricks and often set him up in these instances to expose him. She herself had to be sneaky to stay ahead of his ways.

She spoiled me rotten with Icees from KMart and taught me everything there is to know about the California Lottery system.  She was proud of all of us and I will miss her very much.  I was lucky enough to have had a chance to say goodbye to her just this past weekend and up until that moment, she asked about you.  Know that you were loved by an exceptional woman.  My hope for you is that as you get older, you continue to have a relationship with your own Grandparents because time really does pass so fast and it could be over before you blink.  You’re still too young to fully grasp the concept of death – I know this because from time to time, you ask if we can go pick up Madeline from heaven.  At this time, I probably won’t tell you that Great-Grandma has passed but when the time comes, I’ll be happy to sit down with you and talk about it.  Details of her death are not important.  All you need to know is that she adored you and you’re lucky enough to carry a piece of her within you.  For that, you are blessed my dear. 




And because even Great-Grandma was young once







4 responses to “Month 52”

  1. I'm so sorry about your Grandma. What a lovely post and tribute to your Grandma, and such precious photos of the two of them. Olivia will surely treasure these words and photos later. Olivia is so beautiful, by the way!

  2. Dear Jen,
    I am so sad to read that your Grandma Sparks has died….I had the pleasure of meeting her years ago and fondly remember it as a day full of laughter and fun with her and your Mom. It was evident where your Dad got his great sense of humor. Your blog was beautiful and such a wonderful tribute to her. I know you were special to your Grandma Sparks as were your children….and you know she will continue to watch over you all. Keeping you all in my prayers.
    much love,

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