There are the memories of her house that are fading as Aunt Ca renovates and makes the house her own. The bookshelves in the back bedroom with the golf trophies and the plants, Grandpa's chair, the play food sets, the bear in the shed, throwing pop-flies to myself in the front yard, Rainbo drinks with straws punched through the top, the stationary bike in the garage, watching old Bugs Bunny videos, Land Before Time cups, the high chairs in the kitchen, the photo of the Pope that is so close it had to be professional until I turned it over and saw the Kodak logo and developed date on the back.
And there are the memories of who the family was with her, mostly Christmas memories because that's the time of year that we were all together. Mini pizzas and mayonnaise cake and chipped beef, saving seats at Christmas Eve Mass, opening presents, everyone laughing and happy, and a little bit better because of her.
There are the memories that may only be appreciated by my family. Grandma doing the pant jiggle on mom while she tried on new pants, the finger-stabbing tickle attacks accompanied by the obnoxious laugh-inducing "hehaw hehaw hehaw," the way that her death inspired possibly the only time that my mom heard her dad pray out loud.
And there's the overwhelming sense of a woman who was classy, warm, holy, loving, and genuine. I hope that even if I forget all the other details, I remember that.
|My favorite picture of her, on my grandparents' 50th anniversary|