I got a very sad phone call two days ago, I knew something was wrong when my older brother sent me a text asking me to call home and when I did my father asked if I was driving or not. I knew he was going to tell me something that I wanted to hear. My Grandma Rose Mary had just passed away.
I'm still in shock I guess and don't really even know what to say. She suffered from a couple of strokes several years back and was put in a nursing home, the same one I used to visit with her and my Grandma Marcia during the summer months, volunteering to help the residents play bingo. I remember my first visit back after she started living there and wondered how she felt, for so many years she pointed out numbers on the cards for patients who had trouble. And now I had to help her because she couldn't see very well out of her left eye since the stroke.
Not too long after she was diagnosed with breast cancer and it may seem like a terrible thing to say but I have some of my favorite memories of her from this time. Only because she needed to be driven to a different hospital 45 minutes away for her radiation and when everyone else in my family had to work I got to take her. We got to spend a lot of time together on those trips and even though her body was failing her she was still alot of fun. My Grandma loved racing, she attended almost all of my races when I was younger, at one point she had six grandchildren and a great grand daughter all racing. She couldn't have been more proud. While most people in the home had a couple of pictures of their families up on the wall, her wall was covered with my pictures from magazines and trophies. One particular trophy was from Glen Helen in '04, when I went to say good bye before I left for California she told me not to come back unless I had a first place trophy for her...I sure wish she would have said that more often. Anyways one of my favorite stories of her was when I drove her to her radiation therapy. She was in a wheel chair by this time and the radiation unit was in the basement of the hospital. The hallways were big and very empty and I just remember running through the hallways pushing her making dirt bike noises, sliding through the turns, both of us laughing hysterically. Any other grandmother in the world would have yelled at me to slow down but she was loving every minute of it, even joining in on the brrrraaaaaaaaaaaaaps!
I could go on with these stories forever, and it really does make me feel better to think of all the great times we have shared. I am very sad but I know she is with my Grandpa now who passed away 21 years ago. If she has taught me anything its that true love can exist. After all this time she never took off her ring and even on her worst days if I asked her a question about my Grandpa (I was only two when he passed) her face would just light up and she would tell me stories like how he used to go watch her play soft ball because back then girls played in skirts (can you imagine if they made WMA riders wear skirts hahaha) and he liked watching her slide into home. I'm going to miss those stories.
She was the first person close to me that I have lost, all of my other grandparents I was too young to really remember. Because she kept going strong so long after her strokes I kind of took it for granted that she would live forever. So if you are reading this please do me a favor, go hug your grandparents, and parents, siblings, everyone you care for, life's too short not to.