She lived a wonderful, long, blessed life, which is something we should all be so lucky to have. We knew her health had been failing in the previous months, so it is comforting to know that she is at rest and at peace now.
When I was a kid, I always loved visiting Grandma Mickie's house. She was always just the sweetest, loved having us kids around, served the most delicious food, and had such a fun house and property to explore. I loved hearing her story of how she met my Grandpa Perry - and later comparing it to how I met Michael.
She and Grandpa were pen pals during the war by a total twist of fate. Their church handed out cards of soldiers from their town to write to. My Aunt Margie had gotten Grandpa Perry's name, but for some reason didn't want to write to someone in his branch of the military, so she swapped with the ever-accommodating Mickie. They wrote each other, and when he came home, he stopped by her house to ask her on a date. I love how Grandma Mickie would explain in horror how she had just finished washing her hair when he knocked on the door, and her hair "was bundled up in a towel! A towel!" It was meant to be.
When she met Michael, I thought she was going to adopt him, so much did she adore him. Even when she couldn't see or hear much, she was so happy to be present with the people she loved. She was always making sure everyone had enough to eat, making sure everyone's drink was full. She just wanted to infuse as much happiness into our lives as possible, whether that was buying one of those dancing stuffed animals for the kids, coming up with little games to play or trinkets to take home, or giving a funny toast.
My all-time favorite was, "Here's to martinis, which I love the most. One or two, and I'm under the table. Three or four, I'm under the host."
I'm simultaneously smiling and tearing up thinking of 90+ year old Grandma saying this at Christmastime.
Feel free to substitute whatever you're drinking at the time, by the way. I'll be ordering a Seven-and-Seven this weekend in her honor.
She and her twin, Aunt Margie, couldn't have been much more different than they were. Aunt Margie was like the salty ol' bird to Grandma Mickie's gentle sweetness. Mickie was utterly devoted to Margie, and I can't help but marvel at the fact that Grandma Mickie passed within a few months of when Aunt Margie passed away. She loved her twin so much.
Even knowing that Grandma Mickie's health was declining, I thought I'd get a chance to see her one more time when we were coming to visit next month. I'm sure you can imagine how I feel knowing that I didn't really get a chance to say goodbye. I am glad, however, that my mom did, and that my Uncle Mike was beside her, holding her hand when she did pass. And isn't that the end we all wish for? Passing of old age, holding the hand of someone you love, with your favorite music on in the background?
To be honest, sometimes I feel unsure about what happens to us after we die. But it gives me such comfort to picture Grandma Mickie finally reunited with Grandpa Perry, her hair falling out of her towel, bouncing around her shoulders while she runs out to hop into his convertible. Her eyesight restored, her hearing restored, the strength back in her legs and arms. Her gentle heart, as full as it always was. I'm grateful for that image, and for every moment I had with her.