People think I was close to Grandmother Byrd. They would be right if they meant physically close. I lived within a mile of her. I drove her and her friends to lunch every Sunday for 7 years (only missed 2 days due to sickness). I resembled her so much I have a picture of her at my age and we could be the same person. Her wedding ring fits my finger as if made for it.
But Grandma was a hard person to be close to - for me, anyway. I can't speak to anyone else's experience. Here is the sum total of what I learned about her over those seven years of Sundays:
She gave advice better than she took it.
She liked sweet and sour shrimp, Applebee's riblets and Taco Bell tacos. She preferred almost anything to rice, but mashed potatoes were her favorite. She liked applesauce, jello fruit salad, and corn.
She didn't like small children or animals, although she pretended to like both, and pretended very well. I'm sure most people were fooled.
She traveled a lot, but she was a homebody at heart.
She hated chit-chat. She would rather read the newspaper aloud than make small talk. She would also hand off the phone to anyone else in the room to make the small talk for her and then ask for the pertinent parts of the conversation after the call was over.
She didn't like to be hugged, except by very specific people on very specific occasions. Most people did not qualify, even when they took the liberty.
She loved coffee and missed it terribly when she had to stop drinking it.
She embarrassed easily but covered well.
She paid children to be cute.
And that's about it.
She was a very private person, my grandmother. Bless her heart, she tried to open up, but it wasn't her cup of coffee.
I don't know if this post would embarrass her. I've debated whether or not to even post it, but it seems to be part of my healing process. I would hope it would not lead anyone to think less of my grandma.
She was an elegant lady who spent her life serving others, even though I sometimes wonder if she would rather have been left alone to read a book. If that's true, she's an even better person for doing the right thing instead of the selfish thing. And that, I know, is something about her to emulate.
See you on the other side, grandma.