Tuesday, November 13

Miss You Gata



My grandmother (Gata) passed away peacefully this weekend at 96.

I have been understandable heartbroken, and I was sitting here at my computer trying to get a post up when I decided I needed to put my thoughts about my grandmother down. My writing is disjointed, but I just needed to record some thoughts about this amazing woman. My grandmother was one of my best friends and I miss her so much. 

I know I don't have many photos of her on this post. I started going through my images and it was just too hard right now. So many amazing photos of my grandmother and my boys, I could spend all day going through them all. But right now these beautiful, happy images are bittersweet and I need to savor them a little later. I am just not ready yet.

I grew up in the woods and my grandparents Gata and Popo lived at the bottom of our hill. They were such an important part of my childhood and adulthood, they were always around and an integral part of my family. 

Gata inspired me to love the great outdoors. She taught me how to fish, and how to "pat them on the popo" and throw them back in when they were too small to eat. There was a creek in our neighborhood (pictured above) and Gata and I would fish for hours behind her house. On really nice days we would grab our fishing rods and our dogs and hike for miles alongside of it to this beautiful big pond where we would sit for hours, quietly, enjoying the bird and insect calls.

I don't think we caught much fish, but it wan't about the fish anyway.

Gata said one of her uncles was an actual hobo who traveled all around on trains. She taught my sisters and I how to make a hobo dinner. We would build a little fire outside and throw in opened cans of beans and aluminum-foil wrapped potatoes and cook hotdogs on sticks. 

Nothing ever tasted as delicious as our hobo-cookouts.

It seemed like she always had kittens at her house, and we spent so much time playing with them and finding them good homes. A few made it over to our house. Gata also had many dogs over the years, and they were mostly tiny, mean, and fat!

The only long time I have been away from my grandmother was the four years I went to Texas A&M and the four years we lived in Dallas. The rest of my life I have always lived in town with her. After my grandfather passed she moved in to her own tiny apartment and walked to church. My grandmother never learned to drive, and she always said walking was what kept her healthy. But she had my parents and me to drive her around when needed.

As I drive around our town, there are memories of Gata everywhere. All of the different apartments she lived in. The parks we visited. The grocery store where she shopped. Hobby Lobby, where we spent many hours picking up art supplies for our projects.

She hasn't lived on her own for over a  year, but as I drive by her last apartment I still want to turn the car into the parking lot and stop by for a quick visit. 


Over the years my grandmother has been with my family on so many trips. She was always a blast to bring along, but it did get difficult the last years. She was a 20-year-old trapped in an 90-year-old body, and she didn't want anyone telling her what to do. My goodness, our last trip to Florida was hilarious. My grandmother was in her early 90's and would decide to go walking on the beach by herself and my mom would get worried. Mom would ask Gata to bring someone along with her on these walks and Gata would march into her room, slam the door, and call her friend to complain. She was deaf so we heard every last minute of those conversations... 

My grandmother was an artist, and in so many different medias. She was always learning new things and would pick up a new hobby even in her 90's. She could sew, crochet, paint, do origami, draw, and so much more. I have so many of her beautiful paintings in my house. 

Gata was also a big reader. She said she was too slow, but she was always reading something. She once borrowed my entire Sherlock Holmes set and read every last one. She also loved Christian books, her bible, and Dean Koontz. 

My grandmother was eclectic. And so adventurous. And so uplifting. And could get so angry. And was so loving. And she adored all of her grandchildren and spent so much time playing with them. She was a kid-at-heart and never lost her spark.


When my grandfather was ill and Gata was in her early 80's, I decided I wanted her to have a computer since she was trapped in her house so much. We upgraded and I brought our older computer to her and taught her how to email and use the internet. Until her death she still tells people that the computer saved her life. She couldn't drive, but she could go everywhere on her computer. She also was on Facebook and kept up with her family and friends. 

My grandmother was sharp as a knife and always learning new things. She picked up yoga in her 80's and I would drop in to visit and she would be lifting heavy soup cans to keep her arms in check (her words). She hadn't graduated high school, but my grandmother was one of the smartest people I have ever met. I guess you could say she had common sense or "street smarts". 

Gata lived through some really tragic times. She grew up in the Great Depression and had an abusive mother. She lost her 17-year -old daughter (my mother's sister) in a tragic situation. My grandfather (her husband) had a severe head injury in his 50's so the last decades of his life he was more of a son than a husband to my grandmother. 

But Gata never let anything keep her down. She would mourn and then move on. I think her love and complete trust of God and Jesus helped her through the worst of times and gave her complete faith that everything was in God's hands.

My grandmother met the second love of her life in her 80's. Gerald is a few years younger and they had both lost their spouses. Gerald has money and the first year they dated his daughters were worried my grandmother would try to marry him for his money. But Gata didn't want to marry Gerald, she told me she just wanted a beau. 

And was he ever a romanic boyfriend! They spent so much time together going to buffets, church, visiting elderly in the hospital, shopping, and watching the Rockets play.  They Facebooked and emailed and smooched in the church closet. Gerald would always give her little gifts, a cross necklace, a new bible, a pretty watch. If I wanted to see Gata I would have to book time after she checked her schedule, she was always doing something fun with Gerald. They had the perfect boyfriend/girlfriend relationship and it lasted the rest of her life.

Gerald was there for her until the end and I know he is as heartbroken as we are that she is no longer here on earth with us. His family came to love my grandmother as much as we did and they are mourning with us.

Gata was passionate, lovable, funny, intelligent, and sometimes crazy. I have a novel's worth of amazing memories of her, this little post is just a snippet of her life.  I know it was her time, but she is going to be really missed. And one day I hope we can be together again. 

My grandmother inspired me in so many ways, but I learned two very important lessons from her. Never stop learning, and never stop loving life. Gata, you are so loved and we will miss you so much.

20 comments:

  1. I'm so sorry for your loss. I too am grieving as I lost my best friend I've known since childhood on Sunday.

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    1. Vickie, I am so sorry to read this. I hope you have strength during these sad times. It is hard when it is so close to the holidays. This will be my first Thanksgiving without my grandmother, and it is going to be so sad.

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  2. "When someone you love becomes a memory the memory becomes a treasure."
    The Lord bless you Rita and all of Gata's loved ones.

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  3. Rita, I'm so sorry for your loss, your grandmother sounds like a sweetheart! Sending prayers for your family.

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    1. Thank you Linda. She was amazing and so missed.

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  4. So sorry to hear this, she looked to be an awesome woman, and well loved by the grandkids. You have been so generous over the years, I am sad to hear of your pain within your family. Sending love to you all!

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    1. Thank you so much Angela. She was wonderful and I miss her so much. I really appreciate your kind words.

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  5. sorry for your loss, she sounded like a wonderful lady.
    Carla

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  6. Oh Rita, I know that she had a long time in this world and that you treasure all the moments you spent with her but when someone that you love dearly passes, it is still never enough time is it? Gata sounds like an incredible woman and I'm happy that she found love again so late in life. You have so many wonderful memories to fondly look back on. May they help to sustain you during this difficult time. Sending love and prayers to help cushion the blow.

    Lisa

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    1. It is so true Lisa, you never have enough time with your loved ones. Thank you so much for your kind words, I really appreciate them.

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  7. Rita,

    I am so sorry for your loss. May you find peace.

    Adrienne

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    1. Thank you so much Adrienne. I really appreciate it. <3

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  8. Rita, I am so sorry to hear about this! Not online often now and just saw it on your blog. I love this testimony to your grandmother and I pray that the Lord will give you and your family peace and comfort as you grieve. Rest in the comfort that you will see her again in eternity as I do for my grandparents. Big Hug!

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    1. Pearls, thank you so much! That really does give me comfort. This first holiday season without her is going to be tough, but I know she is looking after us.

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  9. Rita, I haven't visited your blog for ages, and have just seen this post about your grandmother. So sorry for your loss -- she sounds like she was a truly remarkable lady. I never met either of my grandmothers, as my parents emigrated from Scotland to Australia before having my sister, then me. I am the full time carer of my 88-year-old mother, and was also my dad's carer until he passed away in 2013, so I can imagine what you must be going through at this time. Love and blessings from Australia. xxxx

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    1. Thank you so much Robyn. It sounds like you have amazing family stories. And that is wonderful that you are able to be there for your mother and you were there for your father. I live in town with my parents (and my grandmother before she passed) and I love the time I get to spend with them. Family is everything!

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Rita

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