I love you. You have been my only living grandparent since the day I was born, so you're my favorite and I have an extra special place in my heart for you. My earliest memory of you is one of staying at your house in Vancouver and going to church with you when I was very young. I don't recall much more of the experience, except that you wanted Pa to remove a dead possum from your basement, which of course all of us kids were more than excited to go take a look at.
I have fond memories receiving a loving birthday card from you every year with a $10 check in it. It was something we all looked forward to and I still remember your same curvy, signature in it year after year. I also have fond memories of everything leopard print; bedsheets, pillowcases, bathroom towels, curtains, your winter hat and gloves, etc. In fact, even though you are the only living grandma I have, many of my friends refer to you as my "leopard grandma" affectionately. I also remember your love for Santa Claus. Leopard print and Santa Clauses were two things you collected and two things that I love and we have in common (as Tyler will grudgingly attest to).
The next time I remember seeing you was when you came to visit us in Colorado right before we moved to Hawaii. I felt so special because I was the one who got to share a room and bunk bed with you in the basement. At the time I thought you were so strange- you were so much like mom, but different. I loved just watching you and listening to you.
When you came you had this big, pearly, pale, pink purse that I thought was the most beautiful bag I had ever seen, and so when you left you let me keep it. I loved it and thought I looked so classy (just like you) carrying it around. As I grew up I grew to think it was a very ugly bag- much too 90's to ever carry around in public seriously. But every time I saw that bag drug out of the dress up box, the back of the closet, or whereever I always remembered how much I loved it when I first saw it and how you had given it to me. It still makes me think of you and makes me smile.
I must have only been 10 or 11-years-old when that happened and I thought that would be the last time I ever saw you. Of course, it wasn't, although I was already 18-years-old and a freshman in college the next time I did see you. Amy and I spent Christmas with you- watching soap operas, talking about mom when she was little, and eating cafeteria food. It was not like any of the Christmases I had ever spent at home and I hated the food, but I am SO GRATEFUL that I was able to spend that time with you.
This past June was the next and last time that I saw you. Although Tyler and I had a crazy summer planned, I'm so happy that we spent a couple of days in Washington so you could meet my husband and so we could celebrate your 90th birthday with you. When we first got there I was a little timid to come and talk to you because we haven't been able to spend a lot of time together throughout my life, and I wasn't sure what to say. But you knew exactly what I was doing and called me out on it. Talking to you I felt as if we had spent years together. You knew everything about me including the little details of my personality- both the ones I get from mom and the ones I get from Pa. Thank you for being such a wonderful grandma.
I wanted to tell you that even though we never spent that much time together I love you dearly and have an incredible amount of respect for you. You raised my mother and she is as close to perfect as anything I know. She admirers you and loves you more than I can say, and for that reason alone, I love you. Your conversations and inside jokes and clothes swapping with her always make her so happy. I know she is going to miss you so much, but I also know that she is happy to have had you as long as she did and will one day see you again.
I want you to know that I love you so very much, even if I didn't call or write as often as I should have. When I talked to you the other nite for the very last time you told me you loved me too, and it was soooo comforting to hear you say that. I am so happy to be your granddaughter.
Until we meet again,
Your loving granddaughter, Kate.
In Loving Memory of my grandmother, Helen Virginia Akerill, August 13, 1920 - September 23, 2010.