I remember when I was young, and used to come to their house after school or at lunch, she’d always make me instant noodles or something to eat. Even if I wasn’t hungry, she always made sure I was fed. Even if I said I wasn’t hungry, next thing I knew, there would be food next to me and I’d get in trouble if I didn’t eat it. In her own way, she was always trying to insist on things for other people before herself.
I remember when my sister and I were young and we’d stay over, we’d fight with Gramma over some things. She’d put sugar on our cereal to make it sweeter. She’d cut holes on both sides of the milk bags. She’d clean up our things and then we wouldn’t be able to find them anymore, because it turns out that she threw them out.
Whether it was insisting that you ate more food, bought a new stove fan, got married, or that you had to take her to the mall so she could buy something, if she decided that somewhere along the line it was going to be good for you, there’s no way you could talk her out of it. Once she made up her mind about the way something should be, that was it.
As long as I can remember, Gramma has always been stubborn. It is the thing about her that almost always got her what she wanted. Even though she was a little old lady who couldn’t actually hurt a fly, she could be a mean, fiery person that you just didn’t want to mess with.
But I’ve never known her to be anything but honest, and self-sacrificing. I’ve never known her to be capable of doing anything except exactly what she felt like doing, or saying anything aside from what she exactly felt like saying. And that’s probably why everyone in the family always tried to do good by her– because when she was in a good mood, it was a genuine reward for everything. All the cousins know they’ve scored a big award to be called “good boy” or “good girl.” If she was smiling, it was because there was something to smile about. If she was laughing, there was something to laugh about. (If there was no laughing and no smiling, then it just wasn’t funny. She could be a very harsh judge.)
She lived to be 84 years old, and has always been super lucky– but part of her being lucky has always been not asking for too much, and recognising good things when they were in front of her. I think that if we can learn to be as happy as Gramma knew how, then we’ll all be very happy.
We will miss you, Gramma.