Soft Gramma (two)

This story shares my wish about being a touchable gramma and the belief after these ten years that this has come to fruition.

Almost ten years ago, I became a Gramma.  Truly, this role, this persona, this title has brought me great joy from the very beginning.  Cherishing many memories, I need to evaluate my most important goal.

I wanted to be a SOFT GRAMMA!  You might question what I am talking about with your own ideas about what I mean. I will help answer this for you.

One of the memories I have of my own Gramma, is that she was truly a warm, caring and soft Gramma. Modeling my intentions after her success made me who I am to my grandchild. My last visit with my Gramma, while she was still able to receive visitors, entailed sitting on the floor, holding her hand and putting it on my cheek. Even in her illness, she was warm and her hand was soft. I feel privileged to have that memory.

My granddaughter and I have spent as much time together as a far-away grandparent can manage. Of course, I wish I lived closer, so my visits are extra special. I always enjoy her company and now that she is older, her impressions on life, her thoughts and her dreams. We do girl stuff: nails, hair, makeup and fashion and we tell stories. All of these are endearing activities that keep us close even though miles separate us.

This last trip, we had lots of time at the pool and even roomed together at the hotel. Of course, when you do that, you have  a lot of physical time including  cuddling and watching television. One of the fun things we do is look at my arms!

As any of us in the “aging game“ knows, arm tissue becomes looser, our skin a bit saggy and our waists a little rounder. She has great fun tapping my loose skin and saying, “Mamie, look at this.” With a giggle from her and one from me, we look at what exercise will not take away anymore. My 72 years is showing — much to my chagrin — but, oh well!

I noticed on this last visit that she reached for my hand several times. She held on tight and I did too. Communication is spectacular when hands are held. I think our love transfers to those we love just by this connection.  She sat in the seat right next to me as we went to and fro while my husband, Jack, chauffeured us around giving us even more time to cuddle.

While attending Mass with her, on this last 9/11, I was overcome with not only the sadness of that horrible day but thinking about all of the grandparents who would never hold hands with their grandchildren. As I had these thoughts, she reached over and took my hand, putting her little arm over my weeping shoulders. In other words, she was comforting me . . . almost knowing what my crying was all about. I thank her for her softness in those moments.

My wish, my prayer, is that some day when I am no longer on earth, she will have the same memory I have of my Gramma. I would love for her to say out loud, “Yes, I had a soft Gramma and I miss her.” What a lovely thought!

About the Author

Maryann Hartzell-Curran, a retired educator and counselor, has written a personal account of her journey through the first year of grieving the loss of her husband in her book, “From We to Me,” to help support those who have suffered the loss of a loved one. Maryann founded a successful family therapy practice and taught in the public and private sectors. She also founded and directed a church-based preschool in Lombard, Ill., and gained experience working with the elderly as director of a senior dining center. She has a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Wisconsin and a master’s degree in counseling from Illinois Benedictine University.

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