My Grandmother died yesterday....

My grandmother died yesterday, Sunday January, 25, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois.  My grandmother was a saint in my eyes, my sibling's eyes too.  She was ninety five.

Irene Hogan was one of eleven.  She was Polish, her parents were immigrants. My grandmother taught me one phrase in Polish, I love you. I could not possibly write it out for you, I would be doing the Polish language in an injustice, but what it is, is a peek into what my grandmother was all about; love of her family!

Grammy was a factory worker, who loved and cherished her husband.  They had three kids, one of which was my father.  In 1969, my Uncle Bill passed away. Uncle Bill was my Aunt Pat's husband. Pat was my grandmother's daughter.  My grandmother immediately moved in to my aunt's house to help take care of my three cousins.

My grandmother consoled  her daughter, while caring for her grandchildren.  She would go home on the weekends to see my grandfather, and cook meals for him for the week, and then return to my aunt's house on Sunday evenings. 

She did this routine for two solid years. My cousins needed her and so did my aunt.  Finally, my grammy was able to move back with her beloved George full time. 

She would have never known that she would be moving out again soon.  New Year's Eve 1972, my mother died in a tragic car accident.  My father was my grandmother's son.  My grandmother moved in with us, now to help take care of her son's three children! 

 It was the same fate for her son as her daughter.  Since the routine had already been tested and proven, gram lived with us during the week, and went home to my grandpa on the weekends. She might have been able to patent how to take care of your child's children after the death of their spouse.

The only element that changed between my cousin's house, and ours was, my brother was only eight months old when my mother died.  He was a baby.  The family felt it was very important to keep one constant in Georgie's life. Gram returned to her husband on the weekends, with her baby grandson.  Grandma did this routine for three years. 

I will never forget the day my father told us my grandmother was no longer going to live with us because he was getting remarried.  We felt as if our mother was leaving us again. The first one died, and the second one was moving out.  The devastation we felt was unbearable.  I felt like a building had just collapsed on top of me during a tornado, and I was supposed to now dig myself out of the rubble again. This time, the dust never settled.  I missed her until I left my house at the age of nineteen.

I can tell you what my grandmother taught me.  Family is everything. Loyalty is a gift.  Very few people can give their gift of loyalty.  For you to be able to give the gift of loyalty to another you must possess the following attributes: compassion, empathy, gratitude, love in your heart, tenacity in your mind, and unconditional support.  My grandmother gave her gift of loyalty over and over again in her life.  She never wavered on that.  She didn't lie, she kept her word, and her hugs kept me going for weeks at a time. 

The final gift she gave me and my siblings was her love. She told us how much she loved her little stinkies, us, daily.  She knew our father was not capable of giving us his love, and the only other person that could have shown us love was dead, that left her, and she is the only reason, my siblings and I became great athletes, and perservered over our adversity.

Her love taught me how to love my children, and eventually life. I will miss you gram until I see  you in heaven, I will love you for eternity, and I thank you from the depths of my soul for being there for three kids that were lost, sad, broken, and needed someone to love them!  You are my hero!

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