On June 18, 2013 my beloved grandmother, Madeline Ruvere, peacefully passed away at the age of 92.
Though her health was in continual decline over the last few months, it might sound strange but her passing was still a surprise.
I realize it was probably expected given her age, but when you lose someone who once occupied a huge part of your living, laughing and loving, I assure you the loss is still profound regardless of how old you are.
Over the last few days my memories of her have been very strong. Beyond the love and support she always provided me, I think the greatest gift she left me was a treasure chest of memories I can always call upon when I’m missing her.
Playing cards, sitting at the kitchen table having a cup of tea, Sunday dinners, decorating the Christmas tree, helping her wash the glass of her bay window, always bumping into her after school when she was picking up my cousins, making (and eating) Struffoli, and the list goes on and on.
We had some wonderful conversations and tons of laughter – all while she spoiled me with treats and goodies so typical of many grandmas.
But most of all, I always felt unconditional love and acceptance from her, and I did my best to show my appreciation in return every chance I got.
About a year or so ago during one of our weekly visits, we were flipping through a photo album she had collected for me over the years. It was filled with pictures and mementos she religiously stored between the clear protective coverings of each page.
It was on that visit when she told me to take it home with me before she was gone, or someone accidentally tossed it in the garbage.
I noticed that photo album yesterday after I got the news of her passing. It resides on a bookshelf in one of my spare bedrooms, but to tell you the truth I haven’t been able to look at it yet.
I’m sure I will in time, and I’ll smile from one page to the next – probably just like she did over the years as I grew from a little boy into a grown adult.
This quote from the television show The Wonder Years makes for a fitting end here. “Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose.”
A part of her will always live in my heart, regardless of where I might be in this chaotic world of ours. For she will always be something I never want to lose.