Remembering Grandma Norma

Chris’s beloved Grandma Norma (his maternal grandmother) passed away this week, on Tuesday afternoon. It wasn’t a surprise—she was 91 years old and had been diagnosed with terminal cancer about four months ago, and she was in hospice care in her home and given roughly six months to live. We were lucky enough to get to see her last weekend, on her last “good” day before she slipped into sleeping most of the time. And frankly, I was surprised she went downhill so quickly, because when we saw her on Saturday she was still sitting up and conversing and didn’t seem to be in any pain. She had been slipping into dementia, so there were times when she was more “with it” than others, but in general she seemed quite good on Saturday. Chris had a nice, long visit with her, and I know she really enjoyed seeing the boys. But evidently she had a bad day on Sunday, slept most of Monday and Tuesday morning, and passed away peacefully on Tuesday afternoon, 90 minutes after her brother arrived to say goodbye, with one of her daughters and sons-in-law by her side, too. So it was peaceful and painless, and I know that everyone is thankful for that. Cancer is a horrible disease, and the worst part of the whole thing was thinking about her suffering, because she was such a sweet lady and no one wanted to see her in any discomfort.

Anyway, when Chris is ready, I’m sure he will write about her much more eloquently and beautifully than I can. After all, he knew and loved her for 38 years, and I have only known her for the past nine. But still, I really liked her, so I’d like to share the story that will probably always be the first one I think of when I think of Grandma Norma. Warning: It’s a wee bit off-color. But since it makes me smile every time I think about it, what the heck? Grandma Norma had a great sense of humor, so she’d probably laugh too.

Anyway, picture this: I’ve just been newly introduced to Chris’s family. Despite Chris being pretty shy, his family is a fairly extroverted, outgoing bunch as a whole. I am most decidedly not an extrovert (I’m much more extroverted in writing than I am in person!), so the first several visits to their house mostly involved me sitting on the couch quietly and letting everyone else talk.

One day, Grandma Norma was over and was sitting on the couch next to me, flipping through a magazine from the stack on the coffee table. She was in her early 80s at the time, and I knew her to be a tiny, sweet, rather quiet, ladylike woman. Suddenly, she leaned over and said, “Cathleen, do you think this is possible?” She was blushing, and I leaned over to see what she was pointing at in her magazine.

The absolute last thing I expected to see was a headline proclaiming “Woman Has 150 Orgasms Every Night!” I looked up at Grandma Norma, who was blushing and chuckling, and I burst into laughter.

“I mean, wouldn’t you be very tired?” she persisted, still blushing. “I mean, that’s a lot!”

In between my laughter, I agreed that yes, you probably would be quite tired if such a thing were possible…though I was pretty darn sure that article was a fake!

And now here I had found a kindred spirit in a family of extroverts—a sweet, quiet little lady who apparently had a pretty darn good sense of humor.

And so, whenever I think of Grandma Norma, I think of her sense of humor and her warm smile. Rest in peace, Grandma Norma. And thank you for making me laugh. 🙂

Grandma Norma sharing a sweet hug with Chris at our wedding.
Grandma Norma sharing a sweet hug with Chris at our wedding.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *