10 years

August 8th marks a sad day for our family. As I added the year next to my signature this morning, I realized this particular August 8th marks 10 years since we received the heartbreaking, but unsurprising, call about Grandma Dankleff.

Ten years? Is that even possible?

On one hand, ten years seems like no time at all, considering I can still hear her voice and recall exactly how she would answer the phone when I dialed. I can easily picture her hands—almond shaped nails and a new brushed gold wedding band, the original having worn through after decades of contact with a tractor’s steering wheel. I can smell the coffee in the pot on the counter, brewed and waiting for Grandpa, who was soon to come in from the field.

But while these memories are still very fresh, much has changed in the past decade.

The last time I saw Grandma, I showed her photos of the house we had just purchased–a small, two bedroom ranch in Madison. I remember she asked about the orientation of the driveway, concerned about the combination of a fierce wind and the snowy winter to come. Now, we’re in a new home, in a state to the south of hers. We have graduate degrees and evolving careers.

Ten years ago, I hadn’t considered much in the way of starting a family.  Now, I have spent the past six years wondering what Grandma would think of my daughters, and wondering if Ava and her sister will even believe the stories I will eventually share, or if they will just assume they’ve grown grandiose as they swirled in my mind over the years.

Her last instructions were to “take care of each other,” and I believe we’ve done a relatively good job of that. It hasn’t always been particularly easy to navigate relationships without her presence and guidance, but I had 23 years to learn from her example. Ten years later, I still wish I’d had 20 more.

5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Katie on August 8, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    Here, here. Beautiful post, Bec.

  2. Posted by Rebecca (and Katie's) Mom on August 8, 2011 at 7:59 pm

    Your Grandma would be very proud of both of you and your accomplishments . . . and equally as proud of (and smitten with) Ava & Olivia.

  3. Posted by Laugh at Jessie on August 8, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    This is very moving Rebecca. I know exactly how you feel.

  4. Posted by Karyl on August 8, 2011 at 9:19 pm

    Such a beautiful tribute, Rebecca! Doug and I both teared up reading it this evening. Makes us think so much of our parents/grandparents – we miss them so very much!

  5. Posted by Laura on August 8, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    I think it’s safe to say that any and every grandparent the world over would be honored to have a granddaughter who adored her so much. You’re lucky to have had her example; she’s lucky to have had someone who paid such close attention.

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