She was everyone's grandma, even though she had 25 of her own grandkids and another 21 great grandkids, she always had room for one more. That meant she'd holler at you too if you deserved it. But it also meant that her door was always open to you and that she'd listen to your woes and offer up her advice.
I was lucky enough to have grown up with my grandma, for the most part, living right up the street from me. At 4 or 5 years old, I'd make the quick trek up the hill to grandma's house, walk into front door, say hello to her and then set up shop in the back room to play with the toys she had stored for us kids to play with. It was always her favorite story to tell everyone about me, how I was the quiet grandchild, the one she never had to worry about, how she'd call out my name every once in a while to make sure I was still there but left me to my own devices, just the way I liked it.
She would chuckle whenever we reminisced about the fact that dessert was cottage cheese and applesauce and how she'd get me to finish my dinner with the promise of the mixture. I still eat them together every once in a while, as a snack. I prefer to eat my sandwiches with potato rolls as the bread because that's just how it was at grandmas. I always keep string cheese in my fridge, because growing up she always had some in hers and it was my favorite snack to go for.
The one thing I loved the most about her, and would brag anytime the topic of her came up in conversation, was how progressive she was. It didn't matter what your choice in life was, my grandmother would love and accept you no matter what. I'll never know what my grandmother's true stance was on interracial marriages or homosexuality. If she had a problem with it, none of us knew about it. She felt that everyone's life was theirs to live and it wasn't her place to judge.
I was lucky enough to have a good conversation with my grandmother before she went into the hospital. We talked about my miscarriages, about how in time it would happen and that Dave and I would be great parents. It's comforting to think that maybe somewhere up there she's holding the little ones that I never got to, and that they get to see just how incredible of a grandma she is.
I was looking through pictures with my cousin of her the other day and for the first time in my life I got to see what my grandmother looked like before she was "grandma". It made me sad to think that I'll never know what kind of music she enjoyed, what her favorite color was, what her own mother/grandmother was like.
Today I have to say goodbye to the one woman I thought would outlive us all. I'm going to miss her so much.