My grandma June passed away today. I know everyone feels that their grandparent is one in a million, but mine really was. She was silent but strong, meek but not mild. She went on dates and played poker and nursed a scotch and soda at every holiday. She would have liked to wear turtlenecks even in the summer because at 80 she wanted to cover the wrinkles on her neck. Grandma sent us Valentines and Thanksgiving cards with a million stickers on the envelope. She wrote "happy birthday" in quotation marks. Her favorite memories of her time in France involve burlesque dancers. It is so very appropriate that we will be celebrating her life at a bowling alley.
Grandma June was the first person to hear I was pregnant besides my parents. She was so thrilled you could feel her scrunch her body with a giggle of gratitude. With our trials of the past year, it felt like she was fighting with me, praying even though she's not a prayer. June wasn't a baby person, but she wanted the best for everyone, always.
My cousins helped write a book of memories and photographs for her Christmas present. There were lots of stories about celebrating twenty-first birthdays with her, but also memories of Thanksgiving Yiftis and Christmas pajamas. There were surprising additions too, memories of digging for worms and dancing in a parade. I'm not sure we all did her justice because none of us deserved the millions of little ways she showed she loved us. Now those memories and pictures are at the top of a large stack, one that I wish we could keep adding to.