For as long as I can remember, every Friday of my youth was designated “Ammie Day.” Ammie is the name I called my grandmother because I couldn’t get the “r” sound in “Grammy.” Ammie would pick me up from pre-school (and then kindergarten, elementary school, and middle school), and we’d head straight to the library. We’d bring home bags of books. When Ammie and I got to the house, my grandfather (“Daddad”…couldn’t say “Granddad” either, go figure) would jokingly tease us about our “bag of bricks” after seeing my petite grandmother lugging our reading material for the afternoon.
We would sit on the couch together and read. Book after book. Before I could do it on my own, she’d read to me. (“Wead, Ammie, wead!” I’d demand.) Then we started working through the books together. And then, when I got older, we’d just sit quietly on the couch reading our own books, together.
Ammie instilled in me a love of books, of words, of learning.
Sometimes I would sleep over Ammie and Daddad’s house. If it was a weekday and I didn’t have school, I would go with Ammie to her work. She was a fitness instructor (!) and taught two classes a day for older ladies. She taught out of a church hall and used a record player for her music. Sometimes I would join in the exercises, sometimes I would just watch.
Ammie instilled in me a love of fitness, health, and exercising with community.
For many years, my mom, uncle, and I would go to Ammie and Daddad’s for dinner every single Sunday night. She was a fabulous cook—her dishes were elegant. She was health conscious insofar as she avoided lots of oils, never fried anything, almost never cooked red meat, and included a green salad with every meal.
Ammie instilled in me a love of cooking, sharing meals with loved ones, and nutrition.
Her heart was huge. She loved her family fiercely. She never let a day go by without making me (and all of us) feel incredibly appreciated, cared for, and loved. She would do anything for us.
Ammie instilled in me the ability to love, fully and all-encompassing.
Two weeks ago, Ammie passed away. Her health hadn’t been great for a couple years, but after my grandfather died in 2012, she seemed to get worse. For over a year my mom was her full-time caretaker—(the most emotionally taxing job there is, and one my mom performed with awe-inspiring love and dedication)—and the past few months, we knew it would be soon. She went quietly and gently on a Friday afternoon. (Friday. Ammie Day.). I couldn’t be there in person, but mom called me on the phone minutes before it happened and I was able to tell her what an amazing grandmother she was and that I loved her. Mom promised me she wasn’t scared.
This weekend I’ll be flying home to Cleveland for the funeral. Rather, the “celebration of life ceremony.” It has been incredibly difficult to process this away from my family and I am grateful to have the opportunity to say goodbye this weekend in the company of my loved ones.
Blogging will likely continue to be sporadic for a bit, because in addition to this family loss, my life is still in a bit of tumult right now. I find day-to-day ways to manage the stress and the feelings, but it’s hard to be in cheerful blogging-mode in the midst of heavy growth, you know? And I am definitely in a major Saturn return-induced growth spurt. I know you’ll all be understanding of that, and I do hope to pop in from time to time with a Friday Five or recipe (especially with the holidays coming up!).
Until then, maybe give your grandparent’s a call or, if you’re lucky enough to live near them, a hug.