Like most of us, I don’t normally answer my phone when I don’t recognize the number. But when it rang around 6:45 this evening, I figured it was either a telemarketer I could mess with, or an amusing wrong number. In fact, it was H’s Aunt Sherry, who I don’t think I’d ever talked to before.
H’s grandmother, a lovely woman named Virginia (also a family name in my own family of origin) had died on Valentine’s Day. We hadn’t heard from her in a few months, and H was afraid to phone because he kind of expected that this was the reason. Yes, I could have phoned as well. I didn’t.
I’ve blogged about H’s grandmother before because she was such an awesome lady. Her husband had a stroke a year or so before he died, and she cared for him full time. They’d been together for over 60 years, which boggles the mind. When he died, she never really got over the sadness of it. Her heart had broken. I imagine that’s exactly how I’ll feel if I’m unfortunate enough to outlive H. It def speaks to my own selfishness how much I DON’T want to outlive my husband.
I didn’t realize, until Aunt Sherry told me, that H and I really were in her thoughts often. She showed off all the gifts and cards we sent her over the years, and displayed our photo prominently in her home. When she went into the hospital and then to hospice, she took our photo with her (and the other grandkids) so she could look at us whenever she wanted. Even when she couldn’t keep food down, she asked the nurses to apply the lip balms we sent her for Christmas. She had told me once how amazing it was that I knew how to make them. They’re embarrassingly easy. I didn’t realize this, but a lot of H’s family think I’m a great wife and a wonderful influence on him–and that it’s great of me to keep in touch with the family on his behalf.
As many of you know, H’s mom and I don’t see squarely on many issues. So it’s nice to know that there are people in his family that are in favor of our relationship. I mean seriously, we’ve been together over 15 years. Get over it! H’s mom is more bossy than warm, and has been married three times that I know of. I often wondered how H managed to be so kind and loving, fair and patient growing up with his mom. Upon reflection, it was clearly Virginia and her husband Fred who modeled for H what a loving and successful marriage look like. I suppose that means that I owe her a great debt.
It’s my job to help come up with something for the inscription at the memorial where the ashes of Fred and Virginia will be interred together. I’ve got a 16 character limit including spaces. We’ll see.
Aunt Sherry told me the greatest thing though. Apparently Virginia wanted to be at home among family at the end. But what she actually said was “I don’t wanna go out like a punk,” which meant she’d go out on her own terms. And she did.
That is just fucking beautiful.