Today, on what would have been my grandmother's 90th birthday, I give thanks for her. Although she passed away in October 1985, there's rarely a day when I don't think of her.
My parents divorced when I was quite young and after we moved out of state, my brother and I would spend the summers in Michigan with my mom's parents. I have wonderful memories of those summers - from camping weekends to playing Yahtzee and Euchre to watching Match Game while having a glass of slush.
Every Thanksgiving, grandma and grandpa would come down to our house for the holiday. It was a time I always looked forward to, just as I looked forward to Christmas at their place with the whole family (aunts, uncles, cousins). We would also visit them in Florida, where they spent their winters in their teensy trailer. Generally, Easter would find them back with us for the holiday, the last stop on their way back to Michigan from Florida.
Around Good Friday 1985, my grandma became ill. Within weeks, it was discovered she had a brain tumor. Despite surgery and radiation, six months later she was gone. I had just turned 18 and this was the first big loss I'd experienced in my life. I'm still saddened that I never got a chance to say goodbye and tell her how much I loved her before she died.
More than 20 years later, I still miss my grandma, but she lives on in my heart and memories. I am thankful that I had a chance to know her, unlike many of my friends who never knew their grandparents, and for all the wonderful times we had together. I'm also grateful to her for teaching me how to play Euchre -- although I'm sure there's a few family members who wish I didn't know how. I'm ready for a Euchre match on Thanksgiving.