Let’s pour a little caffeine-free diet Coke on the ground for the last of my grandparents to enter the halls of the eternal.
Fly on, Sue Deery. We shall celebrate you
There’s certainly more than a few nice things I could say about my grandmother, who I called Me-Mom, but for starters, she always had candy for a youngster.
And not just those old school mints that would clump together into one mass of sugary nastiness, either.
Yes, she had those, and I did love how they would melt in your mouth, no matter how big the clump was, but she also had M&M’s. And that bomb Italian stuff. Hard candy and boxes of chocolate.
She fed our addictions like a good grandmother does.
The only soda I had a kid was at Me-Mom’s house.
Sure, it was caffeine-free diet Coke, but I was 10, I didn’t give a shit that it tasted like stale Coke rotting in a tin crapper for a week, all I knew was that Me-Mom would let me have up to 7 in one night if I played my cards right, and she would never even try to catch me nabbing a few extras here and there, and drinking them in the basement.
She knew how to handle the kids. Every Christmas she would hand me the Sears catalog and say,
“Pick out anything you want, David.”
And I would spend hours freaking out, pointing at different race tracks and robots and Transformers and bikes, and in a wave of excitement I would settle on the most expensive thing I could find, like the truest scam artist I thought I was. But no one could out hustle Me-Mom, because every year it was exactly the same thing. A card, with 20 dollars in it. Love, Me-Mom. What a genius.
She never once yelled at me. Not once. And as Me-Mom got older, I could kind of understand why she never yelled or got upset with me. Once her memory started playing tricks on her, I could really get a view on how this women operated.
A few years ago, when it was unclear if she even remembered who I was, we all with her in her nursing home and I was asking her questions about what she was up to. She couldn’t remember anything in the past. Not even what she had for breakfast. This moment kind of scared me, because that’s kind of scary. But not Sue. Nope. She laughed and smiled and couldn’t give a shit about what she had for breakfast.
“Do you still dance Me-Mom?” I asked her.
“Well shoot. PROBABLY. Why wouldn’t I dance?”
She literally laughed that stuff off in the most sane way. Not even kidding. No fear. Just in that moment, and happy to live that moment. She taught me how to enjoy life right now, as it’s happening. My Me-Mom would have been amazing on mushrooms. When everyone would be freaking out and crying in fear, scared of death, Me-Mom would have laughed and just smiled and trusted that everything was groovy.
I’ll remember my Me-Mom as happy. I’ll remember the dumplings. I’ll remember the reunions and I’ll remember her laugh. She had a great laugh.
And I’m sure she laughed in the face of death when he walked into her room.
“OOOOOOOOOH. HI. Want some candy young man?”
Rest in peace, Sue Deery, Me-Mom. You will be missed.