Last Monday, January 13, while driving from northern NY to Connecticut, I passed the Amsterdam exit and realized it’s been way too long since I had visited my grandma. That evening we got an email from my aunt telling us Grandma wasn’t doing so well. Since we were heading back to NY on Tuesday, it worked out well to swing by her place on our journeys, and I will be forever grateful that we did since she died that night.
I have always thought that nobody has had a more appropriate name than this woman. All of my memories connected with her are ones of joy and peace with a bit of laughter added in. We have a huge family, and she was actually my father’s stepmom. However, she was the only grandma I knew from that side. She married Grandpa before I was born.
What I remember most about her was the way she loved everybody individually. She and her husband would pray for every family member every day, and that must’ve been extremely time consumptive.
A couple of decades ago she and her husband set about traveling in their RV visiting relatives around the country to see how everyone was doing. They came to visit us after some of my surgeries as well. Every birthday for every child, grandchild and great grandchild came with a special container of cookies baked by Grandma Joy. I got the butterscotch cookies while other family members had different ones. She knew which was a favorite of each person. The kids also got two dollar bills, which was kind of special and unique.
I remember her as a quiet woman, and one of great faith. Her gentle smile lit up a room even when life got harder for her. She had Parkinson’s so her final days were not easy, but her kindness still shone through.
Last summer when I visited her we brought cookies, and even though she got confused sometimes, even in that state, she didn’t want to eat her cookies without sharing with everyone at the table. One of her friends wasn’t allowed to eat cookies, and Grandma Joy didn’t want to eat in front of her because she felt badly for her friend. So considerate.
Family meant everything to her. When we visited last Tuesday she was sleeping and didn’t open her eyes wide during the three hours we were with her. But I think she was definitely hearing things. Linda, Kevin, Chris and I talked and shared stories, and when we laughed over good times her eyelids flickered. They also flickered when she heard Sharon and Brian talking to her over the phone as Linda held the phone to her ear.
This wonderful woman has gone on to a better place, I am sure. She leaves a legacy of beautiful faith in her children and grandchildren and great grandchildren. She is and will be missed here. That’s for sure. I am very thankful she was part of my life.