I lost my Grandma. Here are four things I want you to know about her – four mantras that will forever echo in my soul upon thinking of her:

“Your Grandpa loved you.”

Grandpa and I were just starting to reconnect. He attended a few of my football games in college. We were bonding. I loved every minute of it. But then he was called back too soon. I missed him and our burgeoning bond. But Grandma would say again and again, whenever I mentioned him, “Your Grandpa loved you.” And, it is amazing how much comfort I drew (and still draw) from those four words. She was a bridge to him. She knew it and she took up that task with such care and responsibility.

“That’s my grandson.”

My relationship with Grandma was primarily virtual. She lived in Florida. I live in Virginia. We communicated primarily via facebook and text. There was an occasional call here and there. We only got see each other in person once or twice over the years after Grandpa’s passing. However, that did not stop us from being close. I would post one of my stories on facebook and she would reply “That’s my grandson.” Each time she did, my heart would burst open with pride like I was a kid again. I was a kid again. A kid wanting her to be proud of me. Wanting her to hold me again. I will miss those three words.

“That’s enough.”

My first tattoo was a replica of Grandpa’s snake tattoo. I posted a picture of it on facebook. She loved it. I got a second tattoo. I posted a picture of it on facebook. She did not reply. I got a third tattoo and posted it on facebook. She replied “That’s enough.” I loved the gentle scolding. The holding of me accountable. I love knowing that someone out there loved me enough to watch what I was doing, to question what I was doing and when they thought I had crossed a line (even though we may not have had a shared understanding of that line) they were going to let me know. I will miss knowing she has her eyes on me.

“You’re all my babies.”

I’m not sure she ever said this. I think she did. But she definitely lived this. And, when I learned that she was sick, I sent her the following text:

Hey Grandma.

I know that we do not see each other very often. However, I want you to know that I feel the pull of your love. That is one of the things I admire most about you – the way you gather your loved ones around you, how you expand the definition of loved ones beyond blood and kin and how when you come to Cincy-town you always have a flock of loved ones trailing behind and all around you. You are a true matriarch. Love. Your Grandson

She replied back:


I have always felt that love from you. I am so proud of the man you have become. When I married your grandfather you and the rest of the family became mine. Blood is only a thought. Heart is what makes family. I am blessed to have each one of you in my life. Thank you for your love.

We (my family and the world) lost a good one.

I do not know how this world would work without grandmas.