Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Goodbye Grandmom

Monday morning at 7:30 am my Mom called to tell me she'd just gotten a call from my Uncle John saying Grandmom had passed away in her sleep. My Dad was actually undergoing hernia surgery so we found out before he did that his mother had died. Does this technically make him an orphan, since his dad died years ago? Can a person be orphaned at 67 years old?

My Grandmom was a small, firey, fiesty, mouthy German lady with a big name; Dorothy Charlotta Schaediger Ross Zadlo. Her peers called her Dot. She was 93 years old.

I found out 3 weeks ago that her favorite color was purple. I'd always thought it was blue.

Grandmom had 6 children, my Dad is the next to youngest of them. She had, as far as I know, 18 living grandchildren and upwards of 25 great-grandchildren. Maybe even some great-great grandchildren, since most of the grandkids are in their 40s & 50s and the great grandkids are mostly around my age in their 20s. My Dad was a late bloomer.

Until recently Grandmom drove a little red Cheverolet, with lead feet and lots of brakes. Everyone else on the road was a "jackass" or a "dummy."

When I was a teenager my Dad would take me to her house for the afternoon and I would help her with chores. I ran her acient, heavy (and when the self-propel kicked in, posessed) vacuum and scrubbed her plastic covered patio furniture which never any looked better when I was done. Sometimes I would sweep her driveway. She always forced me to take a $5 when I left.

For lunch we would eat real deli-sciled ham on crusty bakery rolls with Helman's mayonaise and watch Matlock while drinking gingerale from the can. They were the best sandwhiches I have ever eaten. I don't like mayonaise.

When I was born she told my parents that Desiree Nicole was too big a name for such a small baby, and from then on only called me Dolly. Even my birthday cards were addressed to "Dolly Ross." The card I got for my 21st birthday was addressed to "Desiree Bowman." When I turned 21, she'd given me my grown-up name.

She drove from NJ (where she moved about 2002 to live with my Uncle John) to be at my wedding. They also came for my son Jeremiah's second birthday party, the first time she ever met him. They visited again last fall when Hannah was a baby. (See the above pictures).

I was not sad when I learned of her death. As I write this, I am getting sadder by the minute. When I told Jeremiah on Monday that Grandmom, Grumpy's Mom, had gone to live with Jesus he said "Okay." I told him I just wanted him to know because now he only had 6 Nana's instead of 7. He said "Mama, even if a person goes to live with Jesus, they are still a Nana." He's precious.

Living in another state 12 hours away, Grandmom hadn't been a big part of my life for several years. She called occasionally, or I called, or talked to her at Mom's but not nearly enough. When was the last time I told her I loved her? Did I tell her that the last time I talked to her?

93 years is a long time to have a full life but I suddenly can't help thinking that my brothers, sisters and kids will never get to hug her tiny little, frail frame. To kiss her papery soft cheek. I won't ever get another birthday card with 3 crisp dollar bills stapled inside; neither will they. Funny how that was so weird but now it seems like it was so special.

The one joy, other than the memories we have, is that she did love Jesus. My Mom said Grandmom was in her 70s when she told her, she'd been a member of the Lutheran church all her life. Every Sunday she'd attend, but never before had a preacher made her understand that Jesus loved her.

I don't really know how to close this blog post, except to say Goodbye for now to my Grandmom and to pray that everyone enroute to her funeral (my parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins) have a safe journy and the Lord will bless them with comfort.


  1. I'm sorry for your lost, but what a wonder way to remember Dot. Thank you for sharing it with me.

  2. So sorry to hear about her passing but it sounds like you have some very wonderful and special memories of her.

  3. Des,
    You made me cry! I am so sorry for your loss and pray you can find peace in Gods arms! She is waiting for all of us to join her. Hugs Marion

  4. ah how sweet, never an easy thing but it is a little comforting knowing that there is life after death. Hugs and love to you and your family during this time.