Although I’ll be posting this at a later date, and waiting until my family is notified, I had to write this now. At the time of writing it’s been two hours since I discovered my Gram has passed, and I’m still blown away by the loss of my best friend. I am hurt, happy, and lost. But above all else, I’m recognizing I am numb. It’s strange to mourn someone who has been gone for so long, but has only recently passed.

My Gram and I have always been close. I was lucky enough to be adopted into a family full of strong, empowered women, and my Gram was a shinning example to grow up looking up to. However, she was more than just a role model to me. She quickly became my best friend. She was my confidant, the woman I told all my secrets to, the person I ran to with all of my problems. She was my phone call, my favorite hug, my hero and ally. I knew I could trust her, and I would listen to her guidance as if it was law; though leaving room for error when I was too stubborn to take her sound advice.

Gram and I shared so many memories, and how could we not when we lived together several weeks out of the summer, every year? We did everything together; grabbed breakfast, ran errands, shopping, people watching. She was the first person to allow me to cook for them, and she shared all of her “secret” recipes with me. She and I had a tradition of grabbing breakfast at McDonald’s (she always ordered the hotcakes) and we would sit and tell stories for hours on end.

Gram was young when she had my mom and aunt, so she was younger than my other grandmother. I just assumed we had more time. I always pictured her meeting the love of my life (when she ended up meeting every toad I ever kissed instead), going to my wedding, and being there when I gave her a great grandchild. She was absent through all of these events though; not by death, but by a terrible disease.

Alzheimer’s took my Gram many years ago, but tonight it claimed her life.

I go back to my original statement; it’s strange to mourn someone who has been gone for so long, but has only recently passed. I thought I had done all my mourning of my sweet Gram when her memory faded. In fact, her death, although sad, was welcome. We didn’t want her to be suffering anymore. It is almost selfish to be sad over her passing, because she’s finally not in anguish anymore. I have been mourning her loss for years, but now it’s final. I think a small part of my clung to hope, that somehow this awful disease would go away. That a miracle would happen, and she would be saved. That we would have more time to make more memories, that she would meet my son and husband. I thought I didn’t have to hold onto every word, and now I’m frantically searching for the words I am missing.

This post, and many more I feel will come, will be in memory of the woman without a memory. Alzheimer’s is an awful disease, and although I’ve known what it was, I didn’t understand the horrors of it until I lost one of my own. I will forever try my best to carry on her legacy, and forever repeat her name so it won’t be lost over time. I will always carry her with me, and a small part of me will always be broken hearted that my sweet Gram was taken from us all in this way. Still, a much, much larger part of me will always be carrying a smile, because with my Gram I loved, I lived, and I learned.

Rest In Peace, Gram.