Tag Archives: grandma


10 scruffy.JPGDJ is home for Spring Break. At least for a few days. Tomorrow he leave for Florida with my dad and brothers. Tonight we went to see Grammy for dinner. Although she is doing well for a woman who is nearly 102 years old, her memory is starting to dwindle. She can’t remember my name all of the time but tells me she knows that I am “a person who is very kind to me.” That makes me laugh. She also calls me Dale – my aunt, who is not blood related at all but Grammy thinks we look alike and that’s okay with me!

Tonight, she recognized DJ right away but was very unhappy with the beard he has grown while away. She said,”Why would a good looking man ever grow hair on his face? Good Lord!” which just made everyone laugh. She’s been saying that to my uncle for at least forty years so he’s not alone. When we were leaving she told him to shave it off before the next time she saw him. I guess he has until May to take care of that wish.

Visiting Grammy


The last time I went to visit grandma was on January 14th. The day she came home from the rehab facility. I am sad to admit that but time got away from us. At first, it was the illness running rampant at our school. I was scared to bring it to her house. Then, it was just life getting in the way. I have talked to her and Gigi, her caretaker, and checked in  but haven’t gotten there.

It is too cold for her to go out so we brought dinner to her. My dad, brothers, sister and her family went. She was in one of her “story telling moods” which I love. We were talking a bit about her possibly moving into a smaller home. She said there was no place that could hold all of her furniture. Drew jokingly told her, “we’ll take your couch from the den.” We love that couch. It is from 1938 from some ‘fancy schmancy’ place in NYC. It has been reupholstered a few times but is still as comfy as I remember from when I was a kid and we weren’t allowed to sit on it! Gram shouted, “no one gets any of my furniture until I am dead!” Then she laughed – but I think she was serious!

She is always happy to smile for the camera, so the kids jumped in for a photo tonight.



99 birthday

On September 3, my grandma will turn 99 years old.  She still lives in her home with a caretaker and other than some aches and pains, she is still pretty “with it.”   She has three sons, two who live within ten miles of her and one who lives quite far away – in Alaska! Her ten grandchildren are spread are scattered around as well.  Six of us live with our families in New Jersey, again, within ten miles of her. Two live in Nevada and two in Alaska.  Between all of us she has fifteen great-grandchildren and one on the way.

Having relatives spread across the country means she will be getting to celebrate her birthday several times this year.  I guess being nearly a century old means you deserve it!  Tonight, a bunch of us got together at Gram’s house to celebrate with some of our cousins who are here from Nevada. They have been here for a week and we are so sad to see them go, but hopefully they’ll be back next year for her 100th!  That’s the plan, for all of us to meet up next summer. It will take a lot of planning to get all of our schedules synched but if we start planning now, we might just be able to make it happen.  I know that Gram doesn’t want anything too big but even celebrating with just our family there could be fifty people or more!

For now, we focus on her 99th.  Small celebrations all summer long will keep her happy.  More cousins arrive in August for another celebration.  We can’t wait!

A Visit With Gram


Tonight, we met for “Family Dinner”, like we do almost every weekend.  In the past we have always gone to the same place, but recently we have been changing our routine and trying other places every so often.  One place our family really enjoys is Enzo’s in Millburn, which is in the town right next to ours.  Great service and great Italian food.

Tonight, it was a small group of us, just Dave, Drew and me, my dad, my older brother Chip, my grandma and her aide Elsa and my brother-in-law and his kids.  My younger brother Tim took DJ to a NY Mets game and my sister was out with friends.  So, just ten of us – kind of a rarity.  Sometimes those are the nicest dinners though because we can all actually have one conversation instead of many going on at once.

My gram who turns 98 in less than two weeks, does not look like she is nearly a century old, but her hearing is not great, and she is more frail than she ever has been.  This is why we have someone live with her full time, but despite those small ailments, she is doing pretty well.  She still gets her hair and nails done every week.  She meets my dad for lunch a few times a week and still goes to shopping at the mall.  After dinner tonight we were all getting set to go our own way home when my gram asked me if I wanted to come over for a little while.  Although we spend a lot of time with her and see her at least once a week, this is not something that she often asks of us so Dave, Drew and I looked at each other and knew that we had to join her.   She only lives a couple of miles from the restaurant so we got in our car and drove up to her house.  My dad decided to come too.

We sat in her living room and just chatted.  She told us about the other woman at “her salon”.  It turns out that she is not the oldest woman there.  One lady who comes weekly at the same time as her is 99!  She laughed and told us about the “old ladies’ that all come in on Saturday mornings with their walkers. (like her) and in wheelchairs.  Dave told her they could start their own club, “The Titanium Ladies”.

With our busy lives, we don’t get a lot of free time and sometimes it is hard to make time.  Meanwhile, for Gram, whose life has slowed down so much that she often tells us that she is bored, going there after dinner was important.  We did not stay for a long time, but I know that she was so happy that we came and we were glad that we went.  It was good for all of us.

Making an Entrance


If you live in our area, you probably noticed the wicked thunderstorm that we had on Wednesday night.  The storm began with an enormous black cloud rolling in.  We did not see in the hospital, but many people saw it and it was so ominous, they remarked about it.  An enormous thunderclap shook the windows of the hospital right at the time Francine died.  Everyone noticed!  The storm went on for quite awhile.  Several hours later, as we all left the hospital, the rain and thunder were over but the most beautiful lightening was filling the sky.   “A sign from Francine” I thought?!?!?

We all met for dinner last night at my grandma’s.  We went to tell her about Francine.  Once again, it was something that had to be done in person.  Needless to say, she was shocked.  She could not even comprehend what we were saying at first.  She just kept crying “Poor Timmy”.  Tim was there.  He sat with her and told her everything and made sure she knew how peacefully she left this world.  Once again, it was almost like a party, with nearly 20 of us there, eating, laughing, crying and just being together.

At one point, one of us began talking about that thunderstorm.  None of us had talked much about it while we were in the hospital.  I don’t know if we just didn’t want to sound silly, or did not know if it was appropriate but tonight when the subject came up, we realized that not only did everyone of us take notice of it, but all of us thought that it was a sign!   We had all taken note of the time.  Many of our friends and family had sent messages, texts, emails about the storm and how it coincided with Francine’s time of death and we compared those stories.

We all are convinced that somehow Francine was a part of that commotion – that tremendous thunderclap.  She loved to make an entrance and we all think that she was letting us know that she arrived and that was just her crashing through the pearly gates of Heaven…

because of course, she had to let us know that she had arrived.


grandma believing

It is April.  Spring.  My favorite season of the year.  Perfect for Little League Baseball…unless of course it is 40 degrees and windy and way too cold to be sitting outside watching a ball game!!!  Those boys sure did not seem to mind though.  As the parents paced back and forth and jogged in place to stay warm, the kids remained focused on their game.  Drew’s team is made up of 10-12 year olds and they are sponsored by “The Maplewood Stationers”, my dad’s store.  (All of the teams are sponsored by a local business).  My dad was there  – he is probably Drew’s biggest fan!

Drew has worn different numbers in the past.  Usually he wears the lower numbers because the jerseys tend to start with the  lowest numbers on the smallest jerseys and as the jerseys get larger, the numbers get larger.  This year Drew asked the coach if he could wear number 13 because it was my mom’s lucky number.  The coaches agreed and Drew was given the jersey – which is much too big on him but he doesn’t care.  Dave has tried to shrink it in the wash, but these jerseys seem to be indestructible and it stayed the same size even after three washes and tumbles in the dryer.

Tonight was the first game of the season.  Anyone who knows Drew, knows that he takes his sports VERY seriously.  He told us that he was dedicating this game to Grandma since he was wearing her number.  Drew was batting first.  He was walked on his first at bat.  The first half of the inning went fairly quickly and although Drew was not expected to play catcher, his favorite position, at the last minute, he was told to get on his catcher’s gear and get ready to play.  He was so excited.  It was a scoreless first inning.

At Drew’s second at bat, the bases were loaded.  Two outs.  Anxiety for Dave and me.  No parent wants their kid to be the third out!!  Full count and WHAM!  Drew hit what was probably his best hit ever!  An RBI double!!  As he stepped on second base I saw him kiss two fingers and hold them up to the sky.   Later, I asked him what he did that for and he said it was for grandma.  I told him that I am sure that she was there watching him from above and that her heart was probably bursting with pride – just like mine was.  The game ended with a 3-1 win and Drew was given the game ball at the end of the game.  He has already written the date on it and his new lucky number 13.

Mom was not able to get to a lot of Drew’s games over the last few years but now he knows that she will be with him at all of them, in his heart and on his back #13.



The passing of my mom will be the first experience with death that my children will have.   They have lost elderly aunts, and it was sad for them, but this going to be very different for them.  My mom saw them nearly every single day.  Both of my boys have an incredibly close relationship with her.  My boys are old enough to understand what is going on and that there is a cycle to life – that everything is born, lives, and dies.

Although my mom has not been well for many years, this was very sudden.  We had to give the boys an opportunity to be a part of the family grieving and to have the chance to say “goodbye.” Today we brought them to the ICU.  No children are allowed but they made an exception in this case.  My sister brought her daughter Gabi as well.  My oldest son, visited her earlier in the week so he decided to wait for the younger kids to say goodbye.  Drew and Gabi went in with Dave, my sister and me.  At first Drew would only look through the glass doors.  He was nervous.  I told him that he did not have to go in, but he finally came in.  He would not stand close to the bed.  Neither did Gabi.  We had prepared them for how she would look with all of the machines going in and out of her.  Drew asked me if he could say goodbye to her without Gabi and Kathi in the room.  We asked them if they wanted time first but Gabi was sad and ready to leave.  After they left, Drew went right up to her, put his head down on her and sobbed.  He told her how much he loved her and how much he was going to miss her.  I had held it together this whole time until that moment.  Dave and I both could not help but cry.  It was such a sweet and innocent moment.  I had doubted myself all day, wondering if I should have let him go up and see her but seeing him with her, and talking to her is something that he will remember and hopefully cherish forever.

DJ had a chance to say goodbye, but we let him have his privacy.

My family and I have been discussing all week on how we are going to tell my own grandma.  She is 97 years old and in great health.  Other than some walking and hearing problems, she is doing great.  She is my dad’s mom, but she and my mom have been best friends since my parents got married 47 years ago.  She and my mom have a unique relationship.  There are no nightmare mother-in-law stories for her.  My dad’s biggest fear is that seeing my mom like this will have such a negative affect on her, it could send her into a downward spiral.  Today we spoke with hospice and they told us that we really should let my grandma make the decision on whether or not she wants to say goodbye.  My sister and dad took a few photos of her that we could show her.

This evening, my father, brothers, sister, sister-in-law and cousin all met at my grandma’s house for dinner.  We told her all about mom and showed her the pictures.  She made the choice not to go there.  She wants to remember my mom they way she was.  I am happy with her choice.   Her memories of my mom will keep her going.  She is a strong woman and the head of a very big, loving family.  Together we will all get through this.

Tomorrow will be the most difficult day of all of our lives.  I am glad that we got the chance to say goodbye and tell her how much we love her.  Turning of life support will not be easy, but knowing that she can be at peace and finally breathe on her own is giving me comfort.