Though we all shake our fists up to the heavens about the lives we lost in 2016, in the morning hours of January 25, 2017, my grandmother, Carol Knight—or as we call her “Granny”—passed away.
Though there were no press releases issued or journalists rushing to write her story, to me, she is one of the most important ladies of my lifetime.
We are all lucky to have known someone who cared more about those who surrounded her than she ever cared for herself. A woman who would have given away every material possession she had if she thought it would bring them happiness.
It’s funny the things you remember about a person when you really try. I remember being 5 years old, and Granny setting me up on the washing machine so she could get a direct view of my face to cut my bangs. I remember her scolding me about making fun of her NJ accent when she said “warsher.” I remember climbing up in bed in between her and grandpa on a Sunday morning while they drank coffee and talked about who knows what.
Little memories are grand, aren’t they?
So, who was she? Granny was proper—or at least she liked to pretend she was. She hated the outdoors and couldn’t stand dirt because “it had worms in it.” She was the type to sip a wine cooler and fall asleep snoring, but she would up her street cred by randomly dropping the F-bomb for shock effect. She would jokingly wiggle her pinky finger at you and say that you weren’t worth the whole bird.
She would whisper when she needed to use the restroom, but would loudly sing (to the tune of “Do My Ears Hang Low?”), “Do my boobs hang low, do they swing to and fro…” She would giggle every time she called bras “Over-the-shoulder-boulder-holders from the maker, “Keeps-em-from-floppin’.”
She was always aware of everyone’s feelings and tried her mightiest to be polite… even if she would call my mother after they left to tell her how much she absolutely hated the new dress she had just gushed about for 30 minutes. Her dry sarcastic wit made us laugh until we cried. She was devoted to her family, and though she was not sentimental, she kept pictures of every child and grandchild she had on her walls.
But overall, she was the kind of Grandma that every child deserves to have. She tried to stuff you with snacks every time you visited, let you stay up watching TV later than your mother wanted you to. She would cook breakfast, lunch, and dinner. She would tell stories of when she watched Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra play, and she would always hug you before you left.
To me, she was someone that will never and could never be forgotten. We worked on crossword puzzles together; we worked on actual puzzles. We went shopping and met for lunch. She listened to me cry about my mother when I was upset, and she wouldn’t always sell me out when I said mean things about my mom. She took me on trips and could always make me laugh. My grandmother, in every way possible, was one of my best friends.
Her story is full of twists and turns, tears and laughter, and even though the entire world didn’t mourn her passing, any person that came into contact with her should know how lucky they were to have a woman like my grandmother in their lives. She is a celebrity in her own right and those in her world feel her loss extensively.
Rest in peace, Granny, and wherever you may be, let your shoes always be comfortable and your sweaters always fit. Let it not be too hot for a Yankee like you, and know that every time I fill out a crossword puzzle, I’ll be as brave as you and use a pen… wait. That’s a bit too crazy… maybe one of those eraseable ones? Or a pencil… it has the word “pen” in it, so that counts, right? Love you, Granny, and I’ll miss you always. There’s a little less laughter in the world without you.