Our last picture together.
Remember that post a few weeks back about “Life is not always pretty?” Well here is another example of the pain and I hope you don’t mind me sharing. Everyone goes through grief and I thought I would share the reason for the radio silence this week.
If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen Tuesday’s post about my grandma passing. The last time I saw her was a week prior at a Cardinals baseball game we all attended for our Family company. She was vibrant, happy, talkative, and wouldn’t let my new nephew, Wesley out of her arms. The thing that has been helping me through the most is talking about her and sharing stories. Because afterall, she was the inspiration for “Champagne” in Champagne and Polka Dots. So here we go.
We lost her early Monday morning, after hearing she wasn’t well Saturday morning. Just 36 hours prior. My grandma fought throat cancer 7 years prior and beat it against all odds. We thought we were going to lose her then, but He let us have her seven more happy years.
I have so many regrets. Like not coming home to see her from Denver when I heard the news Saturday morning. We were all sure though that we had months still with her, not hours. I was able to call her Sunday and then again right before my flight left Sunday night at 8 PM. We chatted casually about Mother’s Day, what we both were up to the past few days and the Redbook Contest and how excited she was for me. We then said our “I love you’s” and that was it.
This woman was a second mother to me and one of the biggest influences in my life. She was simply amazing. I worked up the courage to speak at her funeral yesterday. Below are my words to Grandma in her honor. She was such a wonderful person and will be missed. Love you Grandma.
Letter about Grams:
Growing up, Nick, Robbie and I would love to spend the weekends with our grandparents. They would tell us stories about our families and about mom and dad when they were younger. And they would spoil us the entire weekend. The weekend trips would start with a trip to Toys R Us, where each of us would be able to pick out one new Toy to bring home and keep at Grandma and Grandpa’s. She would always have Grandma Hocheckers signature vanilla cherry ice cream on hand, then make us microwaved scrambled eggs in the mornings. Each of us learned how to drive a truck at 13 around their neighborhood and Grandma let me eat 11 dreamsicles one weekend. Grandpa wouldn’t let me eat the 12th so can’t say I had a dozen.
One of my favorite memories with Grandma and Grandpa was the road trips in the RV. We would all play the license plate game for the first few hours then the boys would sit up front and learn about maps and drive with grandpa. And grandma and I would play cards, yahtzee and make breakfast casserole or any other food that was possible in a moving RV. This was the time that I really got to know her. She would talk about her life, about her and Aunt Judy’s friendship, how her and grandpa have been together since 5th grade and about my parents when they were younger.
The family hayrides and bonfires are another favorite memory of times with Grandma. She has taught my mother and me everything we know about how to throw a great party and be a good hostess. She would have the entire house decorated for every single holiday including 4th of July and Memorial Day. I think she owned at least 20 American Flag t-shirts.
Grandma loved to spoil us. Whether it was Halloween and she got us any costume we wanted or when she would look all over St. Louis for the largest pumpkin to send to our house. And when I saw large, I mean a 100 pound pumpkin. Or at Christmas where a 3 gift rule was put in place so she didn’t out due Santa. Everything she did was out of love and there was nothing in this world she wouldn’t do for us.
When I was younger I only knew her as my Grandmother. I didn’t realize till I got a little older that she was also an amazing wife. She was the perfect compliment to Grandpa. They have been by each other side since they were in 5th grade. And with out each other, Grandma wouldn’t have done half the things she has done in her life. Including hot air balloon racing, swimming in multiple oceans, flying in a small airplanes, and Riding in a giant shopping cart at parades.
Grandma also made life so much fun. She gave me the taste for Asti Spumante and made it clear that we never needed a Holiday or special reason to drink champagne. We could absolutely drink Asti, because well… it was a Tuesday and she was just happy to spending time with me. I remember in college spending my first spring break with my Grandma and Grandpa at the house in Florida, along with three of my closest girlfriends. We drank Asti Spumante the entire week and Grandma made us home cooked meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Grandma also taught me t how to enjoy life and not take it too seriously. At my College graduation She snuck in 2 bottles of Asti and we popped them in the parking lot so we could have a proper toast with Dixie cups.
She taught me how to crochet the same way her mother, Grandma Hochecker did. I can’t say I still know how.
There are many things I will never forget about her. Her scent being one of those. For all of you who have been around her for years you know she only wore Chanel Number 5. She wore it so much that she had 5 bottles stashed away just in case. I think grandma loved her bejeweled sandals as much as her perfume because she had 15 pairs tucked away in her closet.
Her and my mother were a great example of what a mother-in-law relationship could be. My grandma and mom talked on the phone every single day, sometimes twice a day. Grandma was always happy to hear her phone ring and would be genuinely excited about anything that was going on in your life.
She was always the second person to call me on my birthday, after my mother. She would sing the entire “happy birthday” song from start to finish. And you couldn’t interrupt her otherwise she would just start over again. She also sent a card for all of the holidays, including Easter and your Anniversary. The cards were always prompt, never a day late.
Always had skittles at her house. And not just one candy dish. She had 5.
Grandma was a kind person but that didn’t mean she was afraid to give you her opinion and speak her mind. After I dyed my hair brunette, every phone call or time I would see her she would ask when I was going to go back to blonde and that she hated it. 🙂
She’s the best cook I know. Definitely not the healthiest. It’s going to be nearly impossible to get her Kanadel soup right, but I hopefully we can get it to be at least edible. Whenever we would ask her how she made something, she wouldn’t be able to give us the recipe because it was just a pinch of this and handful of that. You could always find a layer of spices in her fingertips.
Her greatest joy in life was mothering and nurturing others. I truly came to see this with watching her around Hank, Jillian and Wesley. The three of them were never without at least a 30 minute grandma snuggle and her Gratch-ie-zein handshake. Hank and Jillian have both known the words and hand motions since they turned one. I’m saddened that I can’t share that same experience with Paul and I’s children. Watching her with Nick and Kelsey’s kids had me excited to share those experiences with her and my own children. I so badly wish she could hold my own babies and they would be able to know her like I did.
Grandma’s best trait was that she had the power to make you feel like the most important person in the world whenever you talked with her. She was truly the Matriarch of our family, the one that held us all together and she will be greatly missed. I’m going to miss her stories and the way she smelled. Her laughter and tendency to always carry orange tic tacs in her purse to hand out to her grandchildren. The excitement in her voice whenever she would see me or I would call. And her overall happiness with life and those she has shared it with. She was a beautiful person and will be missed by many.
Love you grams.