Fifteen years ago today, my grandmother passed away. I had just started college, and was away from home for the very first time. When I left for school, I knew that it was likely the last time I'd see my grandma, but I had no idea she would pass almost immediately after I left.
Per my grandmother's instructions, she had no funeral. I'm glad it worked out that way, as I can't imagine I would have been able to contain my grief. Although my grandma was not the typical grandmother (there was no cookie baking, very few sleepovers, and she was not exactly a warm personality) I did learn something important from her. And that was, I saw her suffer the ravages of her nicotine addiction. Her death was excruciatingly painful, as every breath she took was raw and fluid filled. She was a 40-plus years smoker, and died of emphysema on September 16, 1993. As a teenager, I did dabble in smoking, but since her death, I have not picked up a cigarette. Her death was not for naught.
I gave birth to her first great-grandchild almost two years after her death. I think she would find it amusing to see me chase after my children. She had seven children herself (my mom is the third) and was a strict disciplinarian. She used to microwave pork chops for me...what kind of Jewish grandma was she?!?! I smile when I think of her. She is warmly and sadly missed.