Friday, May 15, 2009

And the world crumbled a bit.

Grandma Chenza 1919 - 2009

My grandmother died yesterday morning.

My dad's mom, the one we had the big birthday party for in March.

She passed away peacefully in her sleep, but that doesn’t do much to make it better on my family. It’s the worst for my dad and his siblings - while I am extremely sad and shocked that it happened this soon, I am strangely at peace with her death – she had a really great and long life, knew right up till the end how loved she was, and is no longer in any pain or discomfort. The really tough part is watching my dad grieve for his mother, and realizing that some day my own parents won’t be with me anymore.

And I’ve been mostly “normal,” except when I think about specific things about her. How she taught me to count to 20 in Italian when she found out I’d signed up for a semester there. How she had the best sense of humor and would routinely joke with us, tease us. How she and my grandpa used to measure how tall the grandkids were in their door jam of their house and how she winked at me when I passed my older cousin in height. How she would hide the Christmas cookies but always let me sneak them.

How she'll never see me marry Sean, will never meet our kids.

She was 90 years old, and she had an incredible life. She was born in Italy, moved to the United States at 18. She liked Dean Martin more than Frank Sinatra, and she raised 5 kids to be amazing adults. She participated in the Senior Olympics and cruised through the Panama Canal. She cooked and baked like the ingredients were magic. She was a true matriarch – so much of what our family is can be attributed to her. She was outspoken, blunt, and strong – pretty incredible for a woman who never topped 5 feet. She lived 9 years, one month and three days without my grandfather, and I’m sure that I now have one more guardian angel.

She was, in a word, awesome, and I am going to miss her dearly.

My grandparents at their 50th wedding anniversary in 1995

Me and my grandma last Thanksgiving


SoMi's Nilsa said...

I don't often say this about grandparents and grandchildren, but I can tell the two of you are related! Death is never fun, nor easy. One of the beautiful things about losing a loved one is the opportunity to continue their legacy. Pick a few things you loved about your grandmother and make a point to share them with the world (maybe you'll be the one to teach your friends and loved ones how to count in Italian before they travel abroad)! Hugs to you this weekend...

TexasLauren77 said...

I am so sorry for your loss! Having just experienced this with my grandfather, I know how this must feel for you, and especially what it is like to watch your father grieve for the loss of a parent. Reading this post brought tears to my eyes. Not only does it bring back the feelings I had when my grandfather passed in October, but your grandmother sounds so much like my grandmother who was married to that grandfather. I tell her all the time that she is "My Little Italian Grandma," and she says that's her favorite thing to be called (she's just barely 5 feet tall!). :) I will be thinking about you this weekend, and will say an extra prayer or two for you, your grandma, and your dad, too. Hugs from Texas-

Katie said...

She's beautiful, and so are you. Before I read the other comments, I thought "Wow, they look alike!" so a part of her will always live on.

I hope you find the peace you need at this time of mourning.

(I think I read this today in a sympathy card in Walgreens.)


Rachel/The Sheriff said...

I am so sorry to hear this. I'm glad you're dealing with it well, but I know exactly what you mean about death forcing you to think about yourself in the same situation as others, such as your dad. I think those thoughts are the worst thing about funerals and such because it really makes people reflect on such sad thoughts.

My condolences go out to you and your family. Love to you, Adriana.

Abby said...

I am so, so sorry for your loss. Your grandmother sounds like she was a wonderful woman.

Jaime said...


I am so sorry to hear about your Grandma. Please know that you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. I am sure your Grandma is looking down from heaven and is very proud of the person you have become. Please let me know if you need anything.


S~DLT said...

This is very sad, I'm sorry you have to go through this. Your posting was beautiful, brought tears to my eyes.


lifeintheleftlane said...

I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your grandma. It sounded like she was an amazing woman with a great heart.

It is extra hard to watch your parents suffer when they lose a parent, because you feel a little helpless.

You and your family are in my thoughts!

m. m. schnee said...

Aaron and I met up a little after you text messaged me about your grandma. He said I seemed a little down---and I said that I just had your family on my mind.

Then, later, I was on facebook, and found pics of your family (I think on Nina's page) and it was fun to show Aaron everyone and tell stories. I never had the pleasure of meeting your grandma, but be certain that, even in the tiniest of ways, her life is affecting others. It was nice you saw her so recently.

p.s. Grandma Schnee is not doing so well, as of this week actually. We are all expecting sad news----but I hope it will be peaceful. What lucky grandaughters we are to have such amazing women as grandmothers!

Charm City Kim said...

I am so sorry for your loss.

I felt the same when my grandmother passed a few years ago and definitely felt a hole on my wedding day without her there.

alexa - cleveland's a plum said...

i'm very sorry for your loss but it looks like she had a wonderful life - 50 year of marriage! i mean, wow.

Hillary said...

I'm so sorry for your loss.

blrm6 said...

Your grandma was a very special lady. She loved you very much and she will forever be held lovingly in our hearts. Love you, sweet girl.