A Splash of Red

The first time my father called tonight, I didn’t pick up the phone. Figured I’d catch him on messenger instead of be cut short by sketchy AT&T coverage.

But I should have known when he called back a few minutes later. He calmly told me my grandmother passed away.

Holding Luca in Bountiful, Utah

Three such calls have come before. None have come as a surprise, but all of them came with a blow to the heart.

The grandparent I was closest to over the years was the last one to leave us. I cherish the memories I have sitting across the table at the Tiffin Room chatting with her. She told me I could choose anything I wanted off the menu and I took advantage of her generosity by selecting the French dip. And vanilla milkshake. The kind served in a tall glass with skinny spoon.

I spent many late nights typing away at her keyboard because I couldn’t afford a computer while in college. Occasionally, I’d take a break and chat with her about the latest book she was reading. She told me about many historic figures. She explained the Civil War in all its brutality. I’d never met anyone who devoured books like she did.

She kicked my butt at Jeopardy.

Those discussions with my grandma were as much of my college education as the courses I paid to attend.

She carried herself with grace. She had her hair done every Friday and couldn’t pass up an Estee Lauder stand. While shopping for accessories, she once told me was searching for something with “a splash of red”.

I can’t wait till I can sip another vanilla milkshake with her again.

8 thoughts on “A Splash of Red

  1. Sorry to hear about your loss. It's good that your kids got to know her if even though for a short time. My grandpa on my mom's side died within a couple days of my 13th birthday and what would have been his anniversary. I still had 3 grandparents for several years after wards and my kids, except for Anna, got to meet all 3 of them. Mandy was pregnant with Anna when my grandmother on my mom's side passed away. My grandparents on my dad's side passed away within a couple years or so of each other with my grandmother leaving us 2 weeks before Christmas 2007. After that, I no longer had any grandparents but I'm glad for the time I knew them and glad that my kids got to meet them as I never met my great-grandparents.


  2. I'm sorry for your loss. There's no relationship quite like that between a grandparent and his/her grandchild.


  3. Thank you so much for writing this post. It brought back all of the childhood memories of my wonderful grandmother. As the youngest of 4 kids, we tended to do everything as a pack. We didn't get much individual time. But my grandparents would give each of us one-on-one sleepovers. Getting tucked into the temporary bed on the couch in the office made me feel so loved. As did so many other things. My need to be near my grandparents in their last years was the reason I moved back to home after college. I was fortunate to be able to spend many more years with them. My grandmother has been gone about 8 yrs now, and I'll never stop missing her. Thank you for writing what was I'm sure a difficult post. I wish you the best in the days ahead.


  4. Karen, it's strange thinking all four grandparents have moved on. I think it will take some time to get used to not having them around. Thanks for your comment.


  5. Thanks for letting me link, Brett. I loved your talk and the splash of red. Mom had class. I miss her so much, but am so grateful she is free from the mortal body that brought her so much frustration. I hope all is well out west. Give my love to Kim and the kids.


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