Select Page

Dear Grandma,

You got comfy in your recliner yesterday afternoon. Snuggled up with your blanket, in that soft pink and white striped top you loved, with a kleenex or two tucked up in your sleeve. “I'm just really, really tired,” you said as you reclined in your favorite chair.

And just a few minutes after falling asleep, you were gone.

Ever since your sister Toodo passed away in her sleep, you've said you hoped you'd be as lucky, to just fall asleep and sleep away. You didn't want to struggle or linger, you said.

You always knew how to get your way. I'm glad you did this time, too.

I saw you for what would be the last time on Saturday. You were in that same recliner, and you teased Mums, Dad and me about “loafing the day away.” And then you laughed, and said that you did “nothin' but loaf every day,” and then we all laughed.

On my way out of the room, I leaned over your recliner and kissed you on the cheek and gave you a hug. “I love you, Rissa,” you said. “I love you too,” I said. “I'll see you later.” And just as I was leaving–just a minute after you'd teased us about loafing all day–you said, “Now don't work too hard!” and we laughed again.

It was our usual farewell routine. It was light and happy and loving.

I'm really, really glad that was how we parted that last time. But I'm really, really sad we won't do that again.

I could say something about this…

Grandma, you were never at a loss for words. I think that's where I get it.

Our weekly family get-togethers were never complete until we had a couple of great Grandma quotes to add to our memory banks. Whether you were just getting started (“I could say something about this… and I will.”), keeping your son-in-laws in line (“There's a million ways to kill your son-in-law, but you really only need one.”), or demonstrating your modesty (“I'm the only one around here who's got any sense!”), you were witty to the end.

You loved to chat with your grandkids, even though you insisted you didn't understand half of what we talked about “because of all of that computer business.” And you got the giggles about silly things–when I went to Taos, New Mexico, you kept giggling because you thought the word “Taos” was inexplicably funny. And you loved to ask me about “that Twitter stuff,” but you got the giggles every time I said that someone “Tweeted” to you or called someone a “Tweep.”

The fact that you knew Twitter and Tweeted and Tweep… well, just goes to show you did better keeping up with “all of that computer business” than you gave yourself credit for.

The Foam of Knowledge

You proudly declared that the reason I was smart was because I got the Foam of Knowledge that overflowed from you.

I completely agree.

From the first day you said that, that was our joke. You'd tell me I was smart. I'd tell you it was because of the Foam of Knowledge. You'd tell me I better not forget that. And we'd laugh.

You always asked me about my work, even though you said you didn't really understand what the heck I was doing now. But you were proud of me. And you believed in me so completely… even when I didn't believe I could do it, you did.

“You've got the smarts for it, kid,” you said. “If anyone can do it, it's you.”

One day, out of the blue, you called me to tell me how proud you were of me. How much it meant to you that I visited you and chatted with you and “liked spending time with an old lady.” And I told you I never thought of you as an “old lady,” and you just said, “Oh, Rissa,” and giggled. We talked for only a few minutes that day, but it was one of the best phone calls of my life.

Oh, Grandma. I miss you so much.

Gratitude & Memorials

In the past 24 hours, I've received an outpouring of support on Twitter, on Facebook, and in my email inbox. It means the world to me that so many of you are taking time out of your day to let me know you're thinking of me and my family. Thank you..

A few folks have asked what they can do. Grandma had requested that when she died, people remember her through donations to our local animal shelter. If it feels right to you do so, you can make a memorial donation to the Bluffton Animal Shelter, 1613 West Cherry Street, Bluffton, IN 46714, in memory of Larraine Humbracht.

Other things you can do that I know Grandma would love:

  • Eat a piece of really good chocolate.
  • Laugh.
  • Play Pinochle with friends and family, and insist it's your partners' fault if your team loses.
  • Reminisce about your childhood, emphasizing the funny stuff.
  • Hug someone you love. Just because.
  • Giggle over something silly. And then giggle because you're giggling.
  • Have a piece of cake. For breakfast.
  • Call someone out of the blue and remind them that you love them.

Larraine Humbracht
1924 – 2009

Goodbye, Grandma. My heart is full with all the love you shared with me, the memories, and laughs… and it aches that you're gone.

By the way, I'm proud of you too.