I thought those dates were weird, but my Auntie told me that lots of people die on their birthdays and on major holidays. She does funeral announcements, so I guess she'd know best.
Grams outlived my grandfather by about fifteen years, though she gave us a lot of scares along the way. We thought we were going to lose her the Christmas directly following Gramps' death day, which had been in October of 1998. Grams got really strong after that, though, and started redecorating her house with a bang. She loved purple, so purple started going everywhere. The downstairs bathroom had been an awesome portal, filled with 70's brown-toned flowered wallpaper, and I'm talking huge flowers the size of your face. Because my grandparents were classy that way.
My cousin had a baby ten years ago, the first great-grandbaby. She brought new life to Grams, especially because my cousin and the baby moved in with Grams while Cuz tried to figure out what she was going to do. The baby, who we nicknamed Concreta (full nickname: Joaquin Ana Concrete Elaine...becase we're horrible people that way) (Ana is pronounced Ah-na), was totally Grams's joy. She loved her, and then when my first niece was born a few years later, Grams got incandescent with happiness.
Grams was the one who encouraged me to go to college. "I'll give you money, if college is what you want," she said. I promised her I'd get student aid, I never wanted her money. "I'm spending your inheritance," she'd say after buying something big. "It's not my inheritance. Nothing is, not until you die, and I'd rather have you than money," I'd tell her over and over again. I'd give every red cent in my (tiny) bank account to have her back. I'd live in my car if it meant having her back.
Every year, a few weeks before Christmas, Grams would call me. "What do you want for Christmas, honey?" I'd always say, "I want an official Red Ryder carbine-action range-model air rifle." "You'll shoot your eye out, kid," she'd say. Every Christmas. No, it never got old.
I always had to wrap my Christmas gift from her. I have three other female cousins, and she'd get us all the same thing, a purse or a makeup set or a brush set or something, and I'd wrap them all. "Keep the one you like best," she'd tell me. "Wrap it the prettiest." Eventually, she told me to stop buying her Christmas gifts, so I told her to stop buying them for me too. So we'd go out the day after Christmas and hit the sales at Target or Walmart and I'd buy her something she'd been wanting, and she'd do the same for me.
The Thanksgiving before she died, my mom and I stayed in San Diego for a few days, and Grams sent us out on Black Friday to buy a few things for Concreta and my niece, and my mom and I found a nice TV for me for only 200.00. I'd been wanting a TV and this one was a flat screen and everything new and shiny, so we picked it up. When Grams found out that I'd bought it, she insisted on giving me money. "It's your Christmas present!" she said. I told her it was 200.00, and she was like, "Oh. Well, I'll give you fifty." I put the money back in her purse when she wasn't looking.
|Pictured: Handsomest man in the world. I made this at icanhazcheezburger a long time ago. You like?|
Also? Pierce doesn't sparkle.