My grandma chose to pass earlier this week the same way she’d lived her life. On her own terms, when she was good and ready. How lucky was she to be able to say, “I’ve had a good life and I’m okay with this.”
Being sick wasn’t Grandma’s style. She bragged on hundreds of occasions about her quick recovery from her hysterectomy. Of playing volleyball on Sister’s lawn one week later.
Grandma’s style was country music, coffee & cigarettes, crochet needles, and complicated patterns. She was independent–living five years here and ten years there. She always had her own car and never stopped using it.
Some of my favorite times was to pull into the driveway and find some small hatchback car already there. It meant Grandma had shown up. It meant no chores for me and my sister. Grandma always insisted on doing dishes while we were at school. The trade off was country music. She would find every radio in the house and tune in a country station. Last week I shocked her by admitting I like country music and choose to listen to Johnny Cash.
Grandma got my bed and I slept on the couch in the same room. It was like being college roommates, staying up, telling stories into the night.
One thanksgiving, Grandma was living in Nebraska and we piled into the van to visit. Since her house was so tiny (we each took turns standing in all four rooms at once) we had dinner at a diner.
Grandma flipped the sign to “Closed” and cooked a feast in the same kitchen where she worked every day. More than one regular tried to get in, but for that one night–the restaurant and our Grandma belonged to us.
The love of her family is what made it possible to choose her life and her passing. She said goodbye on her terms–strong, independent, and a little ornery.
May you be easy in your grief and grateful for the life we spent with Ruby Jean Holland.