An ode to the woman who raised me


Used with Permission by Anna Anderson

I believe our bodies are the shells to our soul, and although the life you lived taking care of me I will miss so much, I know in some way you will still be helping others, like you always have, your soul’s calling.

Anna Anderson, Feature Editor

To my beautiful grammy, although I may forever fall short of finding the words to express my love and gratitude to you, I will try my hardest to fit my heart onto this piece of writing. It is only fitting that the woman who sparked my love for reading and writing gets a work of mine all to herself, because she deserves it more than anyone else.

As I sit here in this hospice room today, I know that my grandma is dying. That at any moment I could get the dreaded call. I go through the five stages of grieving the living countless times a day. This worry and heartbreak has consumed my life and most thoughts that run through my head every day since she was diagnosed; the late stages of Mesothelioma; a rare and aggressive type of cancer that has taken over the woman I once thought was indestructible. This was the woman who carried me to the car when I was sleeping, slept on the floor with me all night when I was sick and who would spend hours upon hours talking me down from all the panic attacks I used to have. If there was ever truly a constant in my life, it was you, your unwavering strength and courage has inspired me throughout some of the most difficult life trials. My grandmother is the type of person that just about everyone respects. She would remember someone’s birthday and favorite color even if they only told her once, she would send countless cards in the mail during both the good and bad times and she would give up her heart and time selflessly, every single time anyone needed someone to lean on. I hope to someday be half the woman she always was. 

I remember the day that she brought me to her gravestone 10 years ago. I was seven years old and it was Memorial Day. I stared with wide eyes at the stone, trying not to blink so the tears wouldn’t slip out. After that day I had nightmares for weeks, because the thought of her someday not being with me was a terror for me then, and is the same terror for me now. However, as this once terror of mine becomes a reality, I feel immense gratitude that in this lifetime, I got to be your grandkid. I was always so excited to tell you about everything. All of my new accomplishments and opportunities. Whether it was saxophone, piano, basketball or Statesman, you were my biggest cheerleader. There was no one more supportive of my choices, my failures and achievements other than you. My heart breaks that you will not be there physically to see me go to Chicago this October, see my final Statesman issue or see me walk across the stage this May, but I know you will be there. In some form, in some way, I know that you will see, hear and feel my emotions and soul on every one of these occasions, and every moment beyond my mind’s current comprehension. 

I hope death is like all those times you used to carry me to the car onto the brown leather couch. Quiet, safe and still able to hear the echo of your loved ones around you. I hope you see me and smile, and I hope most of all you know how much you have saved my life, in every aspect possible. I hope I see you in the eyes of my children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews and in the crashing of every wave. I promise I’ll be brave, for you.

Love, Anna Jo.