Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Remembering Grandma Ruby on her birthday

Today is June 1st and it holds a special place in my heart. Today is my Cousin Jody’s 19th birthday (Happy Birthday, Jody!). Today also would have been my Grandma Ruby’s 94th birthday. My grandma has been on my mind lately. Since her death in 2005, I’ve learned that I wished I knew her better, talked to her more. I’ve have so many questions now. One of my most treasured items from my grandma was actually mine to begin with. It’s only a few inches tall, plush and insignificant to someone else. But to me, it is most precious and here’s why.

This item is a tiny plush Eeyore with magnetic hands which allows it to be wrapped around something. My favorite Winnie-the-Pooh character has been Eeyore since high school. I’m not sure why. I suppose because Eeyore is a gloomy character and I can relate to that. Even though I am generally a positive person, I sometimes feel as if I am insignificant in the grand schemes of this big wide world. I bought this particular Eeyore at Disneyland many, many years ago. I placed it around the gearshift of my 1987 Toyota Camry. And there it stayed for many months until one day it was gone. I couldn’t figure out how I lost it but it was gone. I thought about getting a new one but never got around to getting one. It wasn’t until after my grandma’s passing, as the family was cleaning out her dresser drawers, was it found.

Something you need to know about my grandma. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. It was very hard to see this beautiful woman, who cared deeply for her children and grandchildren, slowly forget who she was or where she was. Sometimes I could see the recognition in her eyes, even though I knew she could not remember my name. Eventually it came to a point she was not safe home alone and my aunt was able to find a Senior Day Care she could attend during the day. I would often pick her up and bring her home. As I can figure, one day when I brought her home, she reached over and took the Eeyore as I moved to her side of the car to help her out. Why would she take it? Did she like it? Did she see it and think of me? Maybe she took it without really any thought.

I wish Grandma Ruby can see me now. Happily married to a wonderful husband and father. Mother to an amazing little girl who I marvel at every day. I wish she was there when I lost my daughter, Ziva. I wish I could have asked her how she moved on after losing her own son. Although I can guess her answer. Because she had to. A woman who lived through the Great Depression, the loss of a sister so young, losing her boyfriend in World War II and to lose her firstborn child. There is a reason her generation is called The Greatest Generation. She wasn’t perfect. She made her share of mistakes but she loved her family fiercely and did her best to make sure her family had what they needed. I grew up watching her devotion to my grandfather. I saw them bicker but they always came together for a kiss. It’s something I emulate today with my husband.

So, this tiny Eeyore has become very dear to me. When I got the Eeyore back, I didn’t put it back in my car. No, I put it in my room where it had a special spot. Even today, Eeyore still hangs around my bedroom lamp on my dresser among my other treasures. It may not seem like a very special place but it is. I see it every day and think of my grandma. It’s a little dirty but it makes me smile. It’s the little things that can remind us of our loved ones. A song, a scent, and a simple little knickknack.

My Grandma Ruby’s obituary from the Orange County Register