Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Bye Bye Peg

If you read my last post (I know it was awhile ago, sorry, I will try to update more often), you'd know my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer about 3 weeks ago. She was given 6 weeks, but lasted about 2 1/2. Last Wednesday, September 20th, she passed away, surrounded by family.

It was too soon for us, but thankfully she had enough time to speak with most people and went before she had too much pain. I went up with my brother on Saturday to help out/prepare. Two of my cousins and I cleaned out her closets and drawers. We found a sweatshirt we had given her that had "Number One Grandma" and all our names (well, the first 15) stenciled on it. We added the newest 4 and asked the pastor to put it in the coffin before that buried her. Other cousins made picture memory boards and lots of people cleaned.

On Monday we had the viewing. I knew it would be sad, but I didn't know it would be that bad. As soon as I walked in the door of the funeral home, I saw my cousin Jill crying and it hit me. Other people crying often makes me cry too. Then my uncle Keith hugged me real hard, because he had just gone up to the casket.

Peg looked really nice and peaceful and they didn't put too much make-up on her. She had 5 sets of roses- one from the club, work, the family, the grandkids and Pop-Pop. The one on top (Pop-Pop's) was a whole bunch of red roses, with one yellow because he used to sing "The Yellow Rose of Texas" for her. I started crying again when my aunt Jackie went up with their family. She started crying and my cousin Jake, who is about 12 1/2, held her waist, put his head on her shoulder and she rested her head on his, like he was supporting her. Seeing him that grown-up made the tears come again. I was glad that I got to see her and say my goodbyes, but it was hard.

As the oldest, and as a budding lawyer who is supposed to speak in front of people, I was elected to give one of the eulogies at her funeral. I started crying right from the get go. Her son gave the first one, which was nice. Her twin sister's daughters gave the second one together which made the tears come even more. My mom was sitting next to me, handing me tissues and I was trying to blot my eyes.

I got a miscue and walked up to the podium before the minister introduced me and said, "Forgive me if I don't make eye contact", sniffed, said "They picked me to read so I wouldn't do this" and burst out crying. It was only for a second and then I somewhat pulled it together.
This is what I read:

"Before Peggy died she told me a story. She said, "Every time I look at you, I remember this one time when you were little and I was putting you to bed. And you asked me where do you live and I said I live here. And you said I had a grandmother who used to live here, but she died, so I guess you can live here now." I don't remember that story and I don't remember the exact moment when Peggy came into my life, she was just always part of it. She was always just my grandma.

Peggy was the first person you'd see when you walk through the back door, sitting sideways in her recliner, knitting needles in hand and Pop-Pop by her side. She wanted to know how you were doing, and to listen to everyone's stories. She had quite a few of her own that she liked to tell time and again. She loved to be involved in all of her grandchildren's lives. Many a baby has come home wrapped in a blanket made by her especially for them. She went to graduations, ball games, gymnastic meets, surgeries, birthday parties, concerts, baptisms etc. If there was a major event in any of our lives Peggy was there. She was proud of each and every one of us, and was ready to tell anyone who would listen. Even when she was alive Peggy was looking over us.

What made Peg great were the little things. She remembered everyone's birthday and her calendar was full of important dates. She always tried to be fair and never tried to make anyone the favorite. She would worry about what to get everyone for Christmas and I think she probably kept American Girl Dolls in business for a few years. She was one of few people who could yell at you and make you laugh at the same time.

My favorite times with Peg were Christmas mornings. It didn't matter if I was 6 or 26, we weren't allowed to see what Santa had brought us until we went upstairs and woke her up. She'd sit with my mom, cup of coffee in her hand, and watch as we pulled stuff out of our stockings. Then we'd all go into the kitchen and eat breakfast. She never wanted to be left out. Christmas mornings will never be the same.

Different things can trigger a memory. After talking to various grandchildren here are a few things that will always remind us of Peggy:
Deviled eggs
Match Game
Hilarious conversations with Pop-Pop
Pearberry lotion
Macaroni and Cheese
"I hate big trucks"
Boxed wine
Murder she wrote
Pedicures & manicures
The smell of cotton blossom lotion, in the tub not the pump
Her stories

Peg loved her angels. She was surrounded with them in life and now every time something happens to one of us, be it a wedding, the birth of a great grand child, or simply drinking a glass of chardonnay, when we feel a breeze or hear a "woo woo woo", we'll know she's there. I've been lucky enough to have 3 grandmothers. My first Hackman grandma has been watching over me for 22 years. I'd like to believe that Peg is up there with her, one on either side, my 2 angels, making sure I go straight.

Peg, you were a wonderful grandmother and we'll miss you."

I started crying at the "Before" and then again at the last line, which I don't think I even got all the way out. My cousin, an uncle and an aunt all read passages and the minister spoke for awhile. People were sniffing and crying throughout. When I saw the tears in my brother's and my cousin Bret's eyes, I started up again. And when I saw Pop-Pop wipe his away. We all passed by the coffin one last time and my 2 year old cousin was behind me and she said, "Night Night" which made me cry again.

The place she's buried is a beautiful spot. She is next to my grandma and Pop-Pop said that he wants to go between them because when he gets sick of one, he can roll over to the other. My brother and uncle planted mums on my grandma's grave, but someone had pulled some of them up. At the end of the service, Pop-Pop asked to get the yellow rose from the bouquet, which got me crying again. All the grandkids got roses from the grandkids' bouquet.

Then she was gone. Bye Bye Peg, we miss you already.

Friday, September 08, 2006


Sad, happy, then sad again

These last few weeks have brought a lot of fairly large changes.
2 Fridays ago, I found out that my mom needed to put my dog to sleep. She had basically lost the use of her back two legs and couldn't stand. But she acted happy, as she always did. Teak was a problem dog from the start. She had a horrible flea problem when we got her, and the breeders had dipped her, probably at too young of an age. She developed a large bump on her head which was filled with fluid and the vet recommended we put her down before her first birthday. We didn't.

When she was maybe 2, she got a fish hook stuck in her hair. My mom attempted to cut it out and inadvertently cut some skin. We thought she had cut off a nipple and called doggie 911 to see if we needed to do anything. The lady on the phone had no idea what to do when I said, "we cut off our dog's nipple". Luckily it wasn't a nipple and she was ok. She then had complications after she was spayed and needed emergency vet care. Then she had severe ear infections that basically were always there and later caused seizures. She has always been a happy, yet stupid dog. She loved food and, before she went deaf, could hear the refrigerator door open from any room in the house. She's never bit anyone and smiled at people in the way dogs do. She will be missed.

Late that same day, I got a call saying that my friends S&D had their baby that morning. I was so happy for them. He's a cute kid too. But it brought about this bizarre feeling in me like I had failed at something. I don't know why. Maybe it's because I always figured I'd get married and have kids right out of college. I always thought by the time I was 25, I'd have a kid. Obviously I don't and I'm close to 27 (Good Lord). It's like I feel stretched or something. I want to move forward but I'm firmly attached to the past and what I think I want and the 2 are meshing right. I don't know if that makes sense, but it's where I'm at.

Earlier this week, I got a call saying that my grandmother (well technically my step-grandmother, as my first one died when I was 5 from a bacterial flu) was in the hospital because she had a mass in her left lung and a small one behind her eye. They were doing tests and hopefully everything was going to be ok. This was not good because my Pop-Pop is still not fully recovered from his brain surgery last Thanksgiving.

Today, less than an hour ago, I got a call that has thrown me for a loop. Peg has an aggressive strain of cancer and the doctor gave her 6 weeks. I don't even know how to handle that. In less than a year, my grandparents have gone from feisty, loud drinkers to a man who can't remember all his grandkids' names and a woman who might be dead in a month. There's that cliche that life moves pretty fast and it's kicking me in the ass. I am not ready to let Peggy go. My cousins and I were planning on making a video of my grandparents arguing with each other because it's funny to watch. We never got around to it and now I don't know if I will ever see them again, sitting in their chairs, Peg with a glass of wine in one hand and knitting needles in the other and Pop with his scotch and a gun magazine talking over each other about chicken, or John Wayne movies, or anything else. It's too soon. I'm just numb.

Sunday, September 03, 2006


Dear Lord I hope so

I went to this site this morning and plugged in my name. Apparently my slogan is "There's more than one way to eat a RyRy" which led to the title of this post.

In other news, how much do I love that college football season is here. I teared up at GameDay yesterday, that's have excited I am. My boys are back! I love college football. Everyone is invested in a team and the excitement levels are way up. there are chants and pageantry and Mark Richt. Plus the season is large enough to get in some goods games, but short enough that you care about each and every game. I miss being between the Hedges (that sounds kind of dirty), but at least I get to see the games. Plus I can use the WolfPack as my substitute and it works pretty well as the colors are about the same.

Georgia kicked some Western Kentucky butt yesterday (sorry I didn't call KT). The QBs looked ok, I'm glad they all got some playing time at least. I can't believe Notre Dame won, that was a BS game. I got sweet tickets to the State game and got home after 1 am with only a mild sunburn to the right side of my face and a cut on my foot. Not a bad weekend.

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