Hi Grandma Landis.
I know even though you are no longer with us, you will still be able to read this.
I never told you how much I love you. I don’t think I even said the words very often. I was too busy thinking about you nagging me. I didn’t realize until later that you had every reason and every right to give me grief.
Maybe you will think what I used to do to you is funny now. Hopefully you can see the changes I am trying to make in my life. I know someday I will get my payback, it might be from my own grandchildren when I get older.
I’m sorry for taking out the tobacco from your cigarettes and replacing them with random household spices and mustard to hold it all in. I still think you never knew, you never said anything about it.
I feel bad about cranking up the music on the intercom system when you had just fallen asleep. I won’t soon forget you coming out of your room screaming “you damn kids, turn that radio down!” I think I blamed it on Ken or Christian Lechner, I can’t remember now.
I feel horrible about loosening the bolts on your extendo-toilet seat. I am thankful you never fell off of it.
How about the time my parents were out of town and you were charged with watching all us rascals. You kept asking me what was going on as girls kept coming in to use the restroom. “I just have a couple friends over” I told you. “We are just swimming out back”. Well, your suspicions were correct, I was having a party. There were about 20 people out back, but I only let the girls come in to pee. Yes Patti Bruno, I am finally admitting that it was my bag of empty beer bottles out in the middle of the alley behind our house. And yes, those were my beer bottle caps you randomly found around the house over the months that followed. We would flick them with our fingers to see who could make them fly the farthest; we just couldn’t find all of them.
Grandma, I still can’t believe we would call you from Aunt Joyce Horsman‘s house (before caller id) saying in our best Colonel Clink voice: “this is the Gestapo; you are to report to headquarters immediately or will be shot. Do you understand me Lillian?” Yes, that was me, even though I didn’t admit it when you asked me: “Billy did you crank call me? Someone said something about shooting someone”.
One of the worst I remember was when Ken just moved out here to AZ to stay with us until Aunt Joyce moved here. We devised a plan to really get you going. We sat on the couch while you sat in that chair of yours. It started when I put on my shoes and you asked me where I was going. I told you I was going to hang out with my friend. You wanted to know if I was taking Ken with me. I said “no, I don’t like him. I don’t want him to go”. You were so mad that you started that thing where you say all your grand-kids names before you finally got to the right one: “Wendy, Kristi, Tommy….Billy.” You couldn’t believe I just said that with Ken sitting there acting all lonely and depressed. “He’s no fun grandma” I said. Inside Ken and I were busting up laughing; you just about had a heart attack. Sorry grandma!
When I look back and think about all the rotten things I did to you, it’s partly because we spent a lot of time together. I understand now how lucky I was to have you around. Ken and I both cherished the times we came to visit you in the nursing home those last years of your life. We had some great conversations and I remember feeling like I could just be myself around you. It made my day.
The day you died I showed up at the nursing home before you took your last breath and went to heaven. I remember everyone was there huddled around you. You hadn’t said much all day and you weren’t in the best spirits. When I walked in the room, you perked up, smiled and said “hi Billy”. After all I did to make your life a challenge you didn’t hold it against me.
As Ken and I drove behind the hearse in your funeral procession, I couldn’t help but feel you were there with us. It was an incredibly beautiful overcast day and Ken and I cruised with the top down in my old Toyota. We still talk about that drive all the time, it was almost magical.
I still think about you every day. I talk to your grandson Zach about you. I know you are still watching over me. Every time our ceiling fan light turns on by itself we say “hi Grandma Landis!”
I love you and miss you. I promise things will be different with me next time I see you.