goodbye: Grandma Mattie Lee

My grandmother passed away last night. She was in her mid-90s, so it wasn’t unexpected but that doesn’t make it any easier to accept. I don’t know if others play favorites with grandparents, but she was mine. We weren’t very close to my father’s parents, but my mother comes from a large family and throughout my single-digits to 20s, I spent summers with her, our family made visits for the odd holiday, reunion… and funeral*. She had not been in the best of health for a while, her eyesight and memory were going. When I talked to her on the phone, she knew which of her daughters’ sons I was, even if she didn’t always remember my name**, but it didn’t matter.

Grandma seated with her siblings

I have cried, a lot. I’m crying as I write this, but I don’t see this as a very sad event. She had a long life, a large loving family and was cared for right up to the end. A recent surgery affected her very strongly and she just couldn’t recover from it. When I spoke to my parents about it, it sounded like she was hanging on more for us than herself. I had a very vivid dream of her last night and I told her that I loved her and that it was ok to let go. I know it was more for me than for her, but I wasn’t too surprised to get the phone call from my father that she’d passed on.

Mom getting Grandma ready for her birthday party

I don’t do well with funerals more for the ceremonial aspect than the purpose. It will be nice to see family and share stories, hoping that we can put aside our personal drama for just a few days. I think the hardest part, among other things, will be deciding what to do afterward, but I leave that to my mom, aunts and uncles.

The more I talk about it, the better I feel. My close friends and even my twitter family have been very helpful considering I haven’t been very clear about what’s going on, though honestly, I didn’t know much myself. Unfortunately, her condition turned for the worse so quickly, that it was hard for anyone to know what might happen.

She left this world at home, at peace, free of pain and surrounded by her loved ones. I will miss her, but I will never forget all that she taught me, the love that she showed me and the good times we shared.

Goodbye grandma, I love you.

* Which are often colloquially referred to as “Southern Family Reunions”.

** A trait my mother (and sometimes her siblings) also seem to share, so it wasn’t senility.

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14 Responses

  1. Michael M says:

    I’m sorry to hear of her passing. You and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers
    .-= latest entry: Super Bowl Recipes =-.

  2. Brian:

    I’m so sorry to hear of your grandma’s passing. She sounds like she was a very special woman in your life. I love that she came to you in a dream and you were able to tell her you love her. I have no doubt the message was heard and received.

    Hugs and warmest thoughts to you and your family,

    .-= latest entry: Caption This… =-.

  3. BitterCupOJoe says:

    I’m very sorry for your loss.

  4. Gilahi says:

    So sorry to hear about your loss. Even those that aren’t entirely unexpected are very difficult to deal with. It sounds like you have an atticful of wonderful memories, though, and that’s a great legacy for a grandparent to leave.

  5. lacochran says:

    I’m sorry for your loss. *hug* It was good of you to let her go in your dream. That’s a lot of love, for sure.
    .-= latest entry: "And me, I’m flying in my taxi" –Harry Chapin =-.

  6. Esprix says:

    Condolences, Brian. Sounds like she was a heck of a lady, and you were lucky to have her in your life. I hope things go smoothly with your family.
    .-= latest entry: Feeling crappy leads to the strangest dreams =-.

  7. Chris says:

    My condolences to you and yours. My grandmother was 92 when she passed 10 years ago, and I still miss her dearly. Cherish the good times and your relationship with her — I’m not a big fan of funerals, because it seems like they only focus on the sad, rather than celebrating a life so fully lived. I hope you can keep that with you.

    (And, yeah, my grandmother only got my name right about 15% of the time, too!)
    .-= latest entry: 12 of 12: February 2010 =-.

  8. There are no words that I can write that will help ease the pain you feel. That will not stop me from giving you my most sincere condolences and keeping a good thought for you and your family at this difficult time.
    .-= latest entry: It’s That Time of Year Again – International Crush Day =-.

  9. shindo says:

    Hi Brian,
    My condolences. Knowing that your grandmother’s going to go sometime soon, that it’s inevitable, doesn’t always make it easier. It’s still loss, a profound one at that. My thoughts are with you at this time, Brian.
    .-= latest entry: Fiction: The Decryption =-.

  10. Chris says:

    I’m sorry for your loss. Thanks for the post.

    My mother (from the North) often didn’t remember my or my siblings’ names. She’d run through all three until she got to the one she wanted.

  11. Brian says:


    I’m very sorry to hear of your loss. You have my sincere sympathies, and she sounds like she was a special woman. I still have very fond memories of both my grandmothers and it’s been 22 and 9 years since they passed.
    .-= latest entry: Eighties Video Locker =-.

  12. Patty says:

    Thanks for your very touching post and allowing us to share in your loss. I am a grandmother who loves my grandchildren dearly and can only hope when I pass, that I will be remembered as lovingly as your dear Grandma. May she live forever in your heart.

  13. Jack Weisenstein says:

    Brian, my deepest sympathies for you and your family. I’ll keep you all in my thoughts.

    The dream was a very special gift, and proof of a connection between the two of you. I have no doubts that it was completely real. Stay strong, and keep crying. There’s nothing wrong with it.

  14. Dionne says:

    Love you Brian! I enjoyed reading this blog.

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