Today marks 12 years since my Grandma Janis passed away. If you know me, I NEVER talk about it. I'm not quite sure why. I am supposed to be the strong person in the family, so I act like I am and I just go without talking about it period.
So, for you that do know me personally this might be weird for you read this "side" of me. Also if I repeat anything I am sorry, because I know I am just going to ramble.
Let me tell you about my grandmother. She was the most beautiful lady to walk this planet. The most kind hearted. She had blonde hair, perfect skin, her smile... Oh I miss her smile. And her voice. It was the most soothing voice you'd ever hear.
I have so many memories of her. I remember being the age of 3 or 4 and playing with lego's on her living room floor. The organ.... ohhh the organ, my grandmother has some strong ear drums after letting me pound away on that! Her home made brownies, none of this box stuff. And they were straight to the ass and watch it get bigger delicious! Her van. It's name was "randy" after Randy travis. She loved randy. She even got to go to a concert, she even got an autographed picture in the mail from him! The time she took to put her make up on. Riding on the nortic track ski machine in her spare bedroom while she did her make up.
My Dad is an only child. I never met his dad as he passed away before I was born. I've always wondered what kind of person he was! My grandmother had remarried. A gentleman named Bob. Bob always kind of freaked me out. I won't lie. But he was nice. I'm not quite sure what happened with her and bob. I never asked.
My grandmother spoiled me. I was her only grandchild for 10 years. She took me ice skating, to the duck pond, cross country skiing; I remember the designs we used to do in the snow with the ski's! And every summer we made the trip to camp, in old forge. We loaded up Randy, and hit the road. As I got older, I brought my friend sunni with me. Every. single.year. The camp... I miss the camp. When we took my kids to old forge last year I wanted to go by there but honestly to even drive by where it was (not sure if it is there still) would probably have cracked me.
I am not sure when it happened. But my grandmother became ill. She had cancer. I am not sure what type of cancer. I don't remember how I was told, who told me, how long she had it or anything. She was so damn strong and a fighter. She moved into her sister stephanies house where I started visiting her. Stephanie was dating double o seven. Thats what gram called him. Even though she was sick and undergoing treatments, you couldnt tell. It didn't slow her down one bit. I remember being in her bedroom at stephanies and her taking her wig off to show me she lost all her hair. For the first time. I never got sad or freaked out. Then she showed me all her wig styles, and all her scarves for when she wasn't wearing a wig. Hair or not, she was still beautiful.
I wish i knew a time line.. but i dont.
Eventually, Gram met a man named Pat. He was the best guy in the whole world. They moved to cazenovia into a log cabin that, if i remember correctly, was built just for them! It was amazing! It had everything my grandmother ever wanted. I visited her there. She made split pea soup, homemade. It was so yummy. And I hate peas! lol. She was still going through treatment. She showed me her port to get her treatments. We still made our trips to camp. There was some medicine she was on that she couldn't be in the sun. She'd go to Enchanted forest with sunni and me and sit by Paul B. with her big floppy sun hat on, while we had a blast all day.
Not once did Gram show any sign of weakness or being scared because of this horrible disease taking over her body.
My dad married this lady. I never liked her. They are divorced now. I lived with my dad for 9 months at one point and we didn't visit my grandmother as much as I would have liked to. Granted the road trip was a bit long, but I blame is crazy ass wife for being a control freak. Given that my grandmother was all my dad had and she was sick the crazy lady should have been pushing for us to visit her more.
I never knew when my grandmother grew more sick. She never showed me and Dad never told me. I had moved back in with my mom. I talked to dad and grandma often, or as often as I could. I moved back in with my mom in march. What the hell happened between march and may?
I remember May 8-9th very clearly. My grandmother called me. Sounding great. Just to chat. She said something that made me very sad, but at that point i never clued in. Which has haunted me since this day. "You are a big girl now, you don't need me anymore" I cried. I sat their on the floor in the front of my moms house, while she sat in the computer chair and cried while listening to my grandmother talk. It still hadn't clued me in. I just thought she maybe thought i was mad at her or because i didn't see her as often that i was growing up and didn't need her. I didn't realize it was my last conversation with her. I argued with her, I told her I did need her. That I wasn't too grown for my grandmother. She laughed. I even remember the phone I talked on that day.
Then it's may 10th. Oh may 10th. The day after mothers day. I get a called from my dad later on in the evening and he told me that grandma passed away. My heart sunk. I cried. I didn't even respond to him. I cried myself to sleep that night. I didn't talk to anyone. I wanted to puke. I woke up the next morning and went to school. First period, mr. Cheney's earth science class. sat in the 1st row by the door. I just broke down crying. I got sent down to the nurse who called my mother to come and get me. I stayed home all day and cried. I stayed home the next day and cried.
I found out there was no funeral, just a memorial service. I was pissed. I am still pissed! I wanted to see MY grandmother one more time. I NEEDED closure. I didn't even believe for years that she wasn't here anymore. I thought she just left and went else where and didnt call me. I went to the memorial, it was nice. I cried of course. Sitting there with my grandma lois (my moms mom) who loved grandma janis as well, and talks very fond of her to this day. Everyone was there to celebrate her life.
What was I going to do with out my grandmother? The traditions we had. No one can replace her. My dad is an only child, I don't have any aunts or uncles or cousins. I have my dad. I love my dad to pieces, he is a great father and papa, but he is all I have from that side and he has no one. After all my grandmother did for everyone, the kind of person she was, why did 'whoever' (I am not religious at all) decide she was a good candidate for cancer. The nicest person gets the shit end of the stick. How fair is that?
Everyone LOVED my grandmother. I don't think I ever even saw her get angry. And she raised my dad.. Ok, so he had a hiccup and married a lady who belonged in the looney bin. We all have out moments. But I know she was proud of my dad... and proud of me. And the day the divorce was finalized between my dad and looney lady, I know my grandmother threw one hell of a party!
I wish I could share a picture of her with you, but I don't have any. Which pisses me off to no end. I have nothing from my grandmother, not a damn picture. I know what she looked like and i will never forget it but a picture, come on. I never asked my dad for one. I don't even know if he has any. We don't often talk of grandma. I just want one. I want to show my kids who she was.
I do not know what happened with my grandmothers body. I don't think there is a memorial anywhere. I can't even pay my respects to her.
I ask myself all the time if she is watching over me, watching over my kids. I can only imagine how wonderful she would be with my babies. I wish they could have met her. I ask for signs that she is here in spirit.
In 1999 a few months after grandma passed, I met my husband. Was he sent my way because my grandmother sent him to take care of me since she was gone?
We walk to the bus stop every single day here, and there is this italian lady down the road who comes outside faithfully to see my kids everyday, I want to take her picture, She looks so similar to Grandma.
My mom is battling stage 4 cancer, that is now in remission. Is grandma helping her through it?
Does grandma know I think of her each and every day.
I know she kept me safe as I flew over the ocean here. I wont lie, I was freakin' out. Thats a big pond.
I wish grandma could have met my kids. I wish she could visit me here in Italy. I wish she knew what kind of person I am today. She'd probably kick my ass for some of my attitude problems. LOL, I know I didn't not get those traits from her!
To this day, I don't have closure. I am content but I still do not accept it. I probably never will.
RIP Janis LeFever-Fenner October 26th 1946- May 10th 1999, I miss you dearly.