In August of 2007, my life was forever changed after I lost one of the most valuable pieces to my puzzle. My dad's mother whom we all called Amma passed away in her sleep at the age of 81 and it is a day I will never forget. While that day is going to be forever painful over the last nine years I have learned that the best thing to do on August 12 is make myself busy and actually forget what day of the month it is. The first few years I would anticipate what day was coming and know exactly when it was going to be, now I just have to let it pass.
With my Amma's passing came painful yet amazing memories I will have with her forever. If I close my eyes we are walking down Glendon Beach searching for seashells. She loved to find full scallop shells because she thought they were pretty and scallops were her favorite food.
I never did get the chance to find a full shell with her but in the years since her passing I have found many of them while in the company of her son and daughter (my dad and aunt), beloved son-in-law (my uncle) and my cousin and his wife. It's fitting for me that I was with them when I found the shells because that's who she would have been with had she still been alive.
Four months before the seventh anniversary of her passing, I found one at the beach she loved most and to this day I say she was the one who put it in the sand two feet away from the car. It was a sign from her letting me know how proud she was of my recent accomplishment of graduating from college and a little reminder to say she's still with me.
There a million and two little things that trigger memories everyday. I can't walk in the kitchen without remembering how she used to cut my ham sandwich and not put mustard on it when I was kid or eat lemon bars without thinking of her. When I see a crossword puzzle book i have to stop myself from buying it just because thats what she would have done (she sure did love her crosswords and she was the master). When we go to my dad's hometown and drive by my grandparents house I remember sleepovers there with my sister and the rotary dial phone in the twin bedroom. When we drive by the library I remember spending Saturday morning with her there as she volunteered.
When it came time for my Dad and Aunt to clean out my grandparents house,they to make decisions on what was going where. I remember standing outside the barn with my dad and aunt and saying "Aunt Natalie could I have the orange chair?" My dad's eyes bugged as she said yes and I said "you know I asked her because you can't say no to your sister." My father just rolled his eyes and shook his head as the orange chair was loaded into a friends pick up truck to be later delivered to our house. The irony of that is now nine years later it's one of his favorite spots to sit and his favorite chair in our house. For me it's a little piece of my Amma and my childhood spent at her house on the weekends.
While I miss my Amma everyday I am thankful for all the time I go to spend with her. Being that my mom's mom passed when I was so young I depended on her for so much. I couldn't ask for a better women to be one of the best roll models I had. She was strong willed, loving, caring and tough and that is what made her Amma.