Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Grandma Chicken

A couple weeks ago I lost my Grandma Chicken. Danny and I had just finished dinner when I got the call from my dad that the she was in the hospital, and not doing well. Although my Grandma has had different health issues for some time, this came as a huge surprise. I was already planning on flying down in a week or two for a major surgery she was supposed to have, but for some reason or another, a very simple surgery that was only supposed to take a couple hours, had turned into a 2 day hospital stay, and her body was not responding well.

Because we live in a small town, there were no flights leaving that night. So Danny packed up the car, I finished creating the flowers that needed to be mailed over the next couple of days, and we were on the road in less than 2 hours from my dad's call.

But it wasn't enough. Five hours into the 16 hour drive, my dad called again to say that my Grandma Chicken had not made it. I don't know if I've ever felt more helpless. I sat in the passenger seat crying, sad that I was not able to say goodbye, and missing the woman who'd meant to so much to me. Danny tried comforting me by driving as fast he could and holding my hand.


She was full of joy, and love, and constant selfless acts. My brother and I were their only grandchildren so we were of course spoiled beyond belief with their love. I was as close with my Papa and Grandma Chicken as I am with my parents. Because we moved in May, I hadn't seen her in over 4 months- the longest period of time we've ever gone without seeing each other.I visited her and my Papa almost every other day growing up, and then throughout high school and college, weekly. It was only after Danny and I were married that our visits grew to every 2 weeks to a month because of our busy work schedules. Losing my Grandma Chicken has made me feel like I've lost my Papa all over again... I'm heartbroken.

My Grandma Chicken was an amazing woman (I explain why we called her Grandma Chicken here). She was born in Hiroshima, Japan and met my Papa, an American soldier, at the end of WWII. One of my favorite stories comes from this early period of their life. Although she spoke pretty good English, she still confused certain words. And when my Papa told her he was a "mapper" for the United States Army, she thought he was a mopper and was horrified to tell her family that she would be marrying a janitor. But because she loved him so much, she married him anyway. It was only after they were married that she realized he was a "mapper" and not a "mopper"- a big relief :)

My Grandma Chicken instilled a lot of Japanese culture into my upbringing. And although I am only 1/4 Japanese, it is the heritage that I identify most with. I grew up watching Japanese Sesame Street. The first instrument I learned how to play music on was the koto, and I still read my magazines from back to front.

She was an amazing cook, crafty, bargain savvy, and stylish. Her house looked like a collection of pieces from Anthropologie, even though she'd never been in the store. They were just pieces she'd picked up along the way, an advantage of being a traveling army wife.

She was generous, and thoughtful, and funny. Always serving and bringing laughter into the house. She displayed our elementary artwork in frames along the family room wall. Never let us help with dinner or dishes. And always thanked us for calling, something I always teased her about. If I become half the woman she was, I'll count myself blessed. I miss her and my Papa so much.

10 comments:

  1. I'm so sorry for your loss and that you were not able to be there to say goodbye. I'm sure she knew how much you loved and cared for her. She sounds like an amazing woman.

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  2. This post brought tears to my eyes. Your Grandma sounds like an amazing person. So sorry to hear you lost her.

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  3. I'm so sorry Brandi. She sounds like an amazing woman. Losing my grandparents on my mom's side was so incredibly difficult, and honestly, I wasn't even all that close to them, not like I would have liked to have been. Your relationship with you grandparents is such a blessing!! You have so many wonderful memories, so much joy and knowledge. Although I am sad for you, especially since you were trying so hard to be there for her and it just wasn't possible to make it... I'm also SO thankful that you had such a wonderful relationship. That is something that you will never have to say goodbye to; you'll be able to tell your future kids all about your awesome, loving Grandma Chicken, and I'm sure they'll find your stories funny and sweet and captivating. The time that the two of you put into your relationship is precious, and it has obviously shaped you into the person that you are today, which is just lovely. Although this is very sad post, and I know you are heartbroken, it honestly makes me very happy to read. What a wonderful life to celebrate! What wonderful memories to pick from. You have been truly blessed with such wonderful grandparents; what a gift!

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  4. I'm so sorry for your loss Brandi. Your Grandma sounds like an amazing woman. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

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  5. Brandi - so sorry to hear about your grandmother. It is hard when a loved one leaves us. Sometimes too hard. I feel for you and send lots of love.

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  6. Oh Brandi, I am so incredibly sorry to hear about this, and I hope you are slowly finding peace and solace about the situation.

    I know she knew you were on the way. I also know that your Papa was ecstatic to see her again - you know he was waiting with open arms for her in Heaven, and it must have been an incredible reunion! I think you are more like Grandma Chicken already than you know, because everything you said to describe her sounded like you to me! I will keep you in my prayers, and like I said before, if you need a friend, you can count on the Chicken Wing! :)

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  7. P.S. - I can totally relate to you and your brother being spoiled rotten - that's exactly how my grandparents treat me and my sibs! We are their only grandchildren, as well. We're never allowed to help with cooking or cleaning either! :)

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  8. Thank- you all so much. Your kind words have been such a blessing and comfort during this time. I love my blogging family :)

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  9. I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. And I loved reading about your grandmother and was so moved by this. She sounds like such a special woman who has truly impacted you in such incredible ways. She is so adorable in those pictures and I almost feel like I know her--you really made her come to life. I hope you and your family can find peace and comfort in this time. Prayers for your family!

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  10. We are so very sorry for your loss. I pray that God gives you the comfort you need in this time.

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