I still remember you, not just this day, but the whole year through. I remember being called to your country home about this time last year and going into EMT mode, yet hoping I was wrong about a patient for the first time ever. I remember the patient assessment and check for vital signs, then confirming with your children/my family that God had called you home. I remember sending them to the other room and waiting by your side for the funeral home personnel to arrive. I remember staying strong and handling things so professionally. I remember laughing at the irony because you always said you never wanted to be my patient on a Victoria medic, giving me a hard time whenever I was asking for volunteers to practice my IV skills. I remember seeing you at peace, free from cancer's attack on your body. I remember it all too well, as if it were just yesterday. I remember the end of your stay in our temporary home. I remember, and I am super sad. But that's not all I remember!
I remember 34 years of being your granddaughter, your first grandchild in fact. I remember how you always made birthdays and holidays special, with cards and gifts and time in your homes (both Manassas Park and Victoria). I remember your bronze elephant collection and wondering how someone who always said they voted Democrat could possibly have so many Republican representations in their home. I remember how you called me Alissa Anne, and not once doing so because I was in trouble with you. I remember how you taught me to play cards and never let me win at Rummy unless I earned the most points fair and square. I remember summer adventures that seemed to go on forever, with pool time, backyard fun, joy rides to the mall, and visits to church singing about joy the whole way there. I remember feeling spoiled by our times together, the shopping for a college and career professional wardrobe that still has your imprint even today ("classic preppy"). I remember your chicken and rice casserole that you learned to make without mayonnaise so I would eat it. I remember learning to drive in the Big City traffic after your sinus surgery, and you telling me to find a traffic signal since you couldn't really help me see what was coming. I remember my mom telling you that ignorance was probably bliss since I was such an inexperienced driver at the time I played your chauffeur. I remember your strawberry pretzel gelatin dessert and how you told me it could be mind over matter to ignore the cream cheese until my stomach proved you wrong. I remember your Cincinnati chili, laughing at how you said "wash" with a hidden R somewhere in the word, your love for your family and family pets. I remember how you supported me and my causes, opening up your new home to be the Chrysalis Big House for a bunch of teenagers and young adults to crash in the country, just 20 minutes away from a flight weekend venue so we could be close enough to help behind the scenes but far enough away to avoid expenses of staying on site. I remember family dinners, emails of encouragement, messages that updated me of your Facebook stalking, phone calls, and more. I remember the pride you had in decorating and maintaining your home, and wish I had an ounce of that domestic creativity. I remember you teaching me all the words to the Redskins fight song, and being introduced to players as a child, with a hog nose and all. I remember feeling like your favorite if I got to sleep in the butterfly bedroom in Victoria or the master bedroom in NOVA, yet seeing you give that same "special" treatment to my sisters and cousins on occasion.
Yes, I still remember. I remember the sad times. But mostly, I remember and cling to the good times....the times God gave me with you as my grandma. I remember them and a part of you lives on in me. I know I'll see you again in heaven some day. I love and miss you, GiGi.