Do you have one person in your life that you tell everything to? The one person you can tell the good things and the bad things and that person will not judge you or those things? The one person who will not divulge to another a single thing you tell them? The one person who loves you unconditionally regardless of your relationship with that person?
I used to have that person. She was my grandmother. I could tell her anything and everything. She would laugh with me or she would be a shoulder if I were crying. She was the smartest, strongest, and bravest person I have ever known. The best part of it all was she loved me as much as I loved her and it was always unconditional.
Why the past tense? She passed away on Monday, June 14, 2010, three days before her 81st birthday after a two year battle with angiosarcoma (angiosarcoma is a skin cancer that develops from radiation; the doctors used radiation to treat and get rid of her breast cancer).
Grandma was my best friend. Whenever I went to this one Chinese restaurant near where she used to live, I would surprise her with a visit afterwards, regardless of who was with me. She met ex-boyfriends, friends, and college roommates. At the Passover seders, my cousin and I would argue over who got to sit next to Grandma (she would sit between us or my cousin would give in to me).
Grandma’s door was always open and most times, especially if she knew I was coming over, she would have a jar of oatmeal raisin cookies ready. I loved those cookies and thought they were the best oatmeal raisin cookies in the world. My father hated the cookies and questioned how I could like them. “Grandma made them,” I always answered.
Grandma loved to read. Like me, she used works of fiction as an escape from her daily life, especially as her cancer took a turn for the worse. She spent her last six weeks in the hospital. Every Sunday, my aunt brought her the New York Times Book Review. By Sunday afternoon, Grandma would write on a Post-It note a list of the books she wanted to read. I went to the library and took out as many as I could for her. As she finished them, I returned them and borrowed more. I still have her last Post-It note stowed safely in my desk.
Grandma was the first person I would call when I had good news to share. She has been on my mind a lot these past few days, which is why I am writing this post. Something truly amazing happened last week Tuesday, an event I did not think would happen to me again. I took out my cell phone to call her. I wanted her to be the first to know, the first to celebrate the unbelievable news with me, the first to bask in my undeniable happiness. Then I realized I couldn’t call her and the dam that held back the tears for so long broke.
While I attempt to hold back my sniffles, tell me…who is your one person that you tell everything to the way I told Grandma?