*I apologize for not writing anything the past few days. After I wrote my Monday column, I received word my Grandma June had passed away. I've felt uninspired to write much on the blog. Here is the newspaper column I wrote for this week's paper.
I've told you before that sometimes I leave the office on Monday afternoons with a big hole in this spot of the paper. I have no idea what I'm going to write about come Tuesday morning, but so many times, there's something that happens on Monday night that hits me like a shot between the eyes that says, 'this is what you're supposed to write about it!'
Yesterday was no exception. Shortly after leaving the office I got a call from my dad telling me that my Grandma June, who has been in hospice the past month or so, was struggling for every breath she was taking and he didn't think it would be much longer. A little after 7 PM last night I received a text message from my dad that she had passed away.
I spent part of the night thinking about what I would say about her. My grandma? She has been a faithful subscriber to the paper ever since I landed the job as editor. Grandma June would sometimes send me a quick email to tell me what she thought about my column that week.
I don't know how to sum up an almost 90 year life in one newspaper column, so I can tell you things that come to mind when I think of her. She grew-up on a farm in Minot, North Dakota. She lost her mother very young. She loved iced tea and always drank it out of the same glass. She is a breast cancer survivor. She worked for Hennepin County for more years than I know. She made store-bought lasagna every single Christmas Eve. She kept candy right by her t.v. The same kind, gumdrops, for all of my 35 years. She crocheted.
I was the first born grandkid out of seven. My grandma had three boys. I was the only girl for a good long time. Do you see where I'm going with this? That's right, it's safe to say that I was one of my grandma's favorites.
No matter if I was 7 or 17 or 27, we could always talk and talk and talk some more. There was never a struggle for conversation. When we were little, the four oldest of us grandkids got to stay for a week in Minnesota with my grandma and grandpa. It was something we always looked forward to – swimming , going to the Science Museum, riding on a ferry on the Mississippi River and whatever else she came up with.
As I got older and became involved in activities, my grandparents made the three hour trip to Armstrong a lot to cheer me on in volleyball, basketball and softball. In 1998, they made my Uncle Tim drive them to Des Moines for the state basketball tournament in a blizzard. No way were they missing that!
Softball though, had to be the most special for them. With my dad coaching and me playing, it was a cool thing for Grandma to see us both out there. They made that trek so many times. They would go uptown or to the grocery store and everybody knew them by name. It always meant so much to me that they would be there in the stands.
We bonded over things like books. I remember I was up there visiting and I told her how I had wanted to read, “Tuesdays with Morrie,” by Mitch Albom and we drove to Barnes and Noble and bought it, just like that. I read it and then she would. Since then, she has bought me every book by Albom.
My Grandma June crocheted countless baby blankets for people, including my own four babies. She tried relentlessly to teach me how to do it and I could never get the hang of it. I guess we'll put crocheting in the same category as sewing!
I'm going to miss her. I used to call her every trip home from Iowa City to check in. We head down on November 6th and it will be strange not to catch-up with her.
My grandma was strong. Smart. Hard-working. Quick-witted. Protective of her family. She loved her kids, grandkids and completely adored her great-grandkids. You never had to guess where you stood with her, she would just tell you. I appreciated that about her. I know she's looking down from up above reading this. It's hard to think about her not being here, but it's comforting to know we have her to look out for us. Rest in peace Grandma June and thank you for always being one of my biggest fans, but that's just the way I see it.