I have written this about my grandmother, but I am too close to it. I am not sure if the flow is good or if it needs more transitions, detail, etc. Any help would be appreciated.
“Do you think it is good enough?” asked my grandmother. I was sewing a wool jacket for a 4-H competition. I had sewed a crooked seam, but it would be covered by lining. No one would see it, but she and I would know it was crooked.
This was a running theme of my conversations with her. Do I think it is good enough, it being grades, personal appearance, sewing, or my attitude. She always had kind words to say to and about everyone. She lived the Lord's Prayer. She was very forgiving and believed that God would sort it all out. That was not our job to judge.
Any sarcastic or snide comment was met with, “Now, Meghan,” followed by gentle chiding. Then she would say something kind about what or whoever I was mocking.
At her funeral, numerous people approached us. They told us how Grandma was the first person to welcome them to the community. She would drop by their home, introduce herself, and offer encouragement and help with no strings attached. I did not know, or even recognize many of these people, but grandma had positively impacted their lives.
She was known as a wonderful, kind woman and talented seamstress. She taught generations of women in our small community to sew. She made brownies for every funeral and visited each new arrival. She was also Bi-Polar. These are the elements that made up my grandmother.
My clearest memories of my Grandma Laura are of her teaching me to sew. She would spend hours supervising my construction skills. As a child, I remember her being able to sew and repair anything. By the time I got married, she could not sew a simple flower girl basket. The amount of knowledge and skill lost to dementia and age was a tremendous loss to us all.
A local group hosts a lunch for the grieving family after every funeral. Each member brings a dish, so the family does not need to think about it. Grandma, who was not a member of the group, took brownies to every funeral. Not out of any sense of obligation or because she had been asked, but because it was the right thing to do. .
However, there was another side to my grandmother. She developed Bi-Polar disorder in her 70's, after the murder of her only son. She would become paranoid, manic, and combative. It was very difficult to see the change in my kind and caring grandma.
She would have an episode about once a year, which would result in time in the mental ward of the hospital. She would stay there for a couple of weeks, until they got her meds adjusted and she was mostly back to normal. These episodes were very hard on her health. She had several heart attacks and a stroke as a result of her mania, but she had a tremendous will to live.
I remember, as a small girl, being at a store with my mom. My grandma happened to be at the same store. She came up to us screaming about us following her and trying to control her. That was the moment I understood that something was wrong.
She had her good days and her bad days. My mom and I got to the point that we could see a breakdown coming. We usually couldn't head it off, but we could brace ourselves for whatever paranoid delusions that grandma would come up with. She was hardest on grandpa, mom and I. I think because we were always there and she knew we would never leave her.
I lived with my grandparents for about a year. I have fond memories of that time and am glad I had that opportunity. They had a romance for the ages. My grandfather worshipped the ground she walked on and he could do no wrong. At the end of the day, grandma would be in the kitchen, cooking. Grandpa would come up behind her, put his cold hands under her shirt and say, “Isn’t she a wonderful grandma?” She would say, “Oh, George,” with a smile on her face. I think she lived as long as she did for him. Grandma held on as long as she could.
Grandma died two days after Christmas 2005, surrounded by her family, of a heart attack. I think it is how she would have liked it. With the people she loved and who loved her. To quote my mom, "The longer she is gone, the more I remember how she used to be." I think that sums up my own feelings also.
When she died, it was almost a relief, because her health was so bad at the end. But in retrospect she is the woman I wish I could be; kind, community minded, Christian, and a good mother and grandmother. I wish I could be as good a person as she was.
I ripped out that seam and resewed it. Grandma was right; I should do it right if I was going to do it at all. She was not only teaching sewing but life lessons in honesty hard work, and morality.