I've always felt like Granny Gen was a kindred spirit. I'm like my dad and my dad is like her and she is beautiful and complicated.
She passed away January 10th. I had plans that night to go to a movie with friends. My instinct was to cancel; Nic said I should go. As I got in the car, the radio turned on and was tuned to NPR. A Prairie Home Companion was playing. It was a simple moment where I realized that, had she been alive, she would probably be listening to the very same thing. I drove in the wet dark and listened to Garrison Keillor and a little bluegrass and felt immensely grateful for the influence of this woman in my life.
Her funeral left me again grateful. As my aunts spoke of her love of books and words, I could feel how the things that she loved had reached clear to me and steered my life in a certain direction. I realized, too, that I can blame her for my weird obsession with cats.
Some of my favorite memories of my Granny are from the summer trips my cousin Meri and I used to take to St. George. We would drink Diet Pepsi for breakfast, swim, lay out, sit in the hot pot with Grandpa, play Garbage Rummy, and get Granny Gen to rent us any movie we wanted. The Shining? Sure. On our way south for one of these trips, my grandma had my grandpa pull over. She got out of the car, went into a house, and came out with a tiny Siamese kitten. She handed the kitten to me and Meri in the back seat, and we spent the five-hour drive with that little kitty on our laps. Best road trip ever.
I sometimes feel like life can be filled with a lot of gray, highlighted with the occasional splash of color. And while I think my Granny Gen often lived in that gray place, the bits of color she added to the world were vivid and bold and very much her own. She colored my life in a way that I am still sorting out, and I'm going to miss her very much.