My great uncle Steve passed away Monday night. He was pretty sick with various health problems and so in a way, as they say: “He’s not suffering anymore.” Which is good.

I wasn’t particularly close with my uncle and so I am not necessarily upset about his death. I’m more upset for the people left behind. My grandmother (this is her little brother) spent the better part of two hours tonight talking to me about her feelings. She’s gravitating toward anger more than anything else right now for all sorts of reasons. My grandmother is also an expert complainer, she has her opinions and the way she thinks things should be done and she will not be convinced otherwise no matter what. I learned a long time ago to just agree with her, and nod, and smile, and then agree again for good measure.

So I went out and bought her an orchid and swung by her apartment. And I felt so sad the whole time, thinking about people that I love and how they will die someday. But I also was amused by my grandmother’s tenacity about every little thing. She didn’t cry once, but she did admit that she couldn’t breathe. Or rather, she could breathe but she:

“couldn’t take a deep breath. Ugh honey I tell ya the same thing happened when my husband died. I couldn’t take a deep breath its like I *shows me how deeply she can inhale, it seems like she’s purposely breathing shallowly but who knows.* And I just couldn’t take a deep breath fah…fah days! And then one day I just could do it. I remembah being surprised because suddenly I could breathe again.”

And after this small admission of sadness we started talking about other things. Like was I hungry? Was I sure I couldn’t let her fix me something? When did I eat last?

And she told me this story, which I have heard upwards of 87 times now and could do an entire monologue of on the spot but I still love to hear it every time:

When I was youngah, okay? I used tah entahtain. And when I entahtained I usually did, ya know, buffet style (this ends up having nothing to do with the rest of the story but,duely noted. Buffet Style = the way to go.) And so okay this one time we had company and I made dessert okay? And I always when I baked I always made from scratch ya know? I nevah used a mix or anything like that. And I had this recipe, ugh, this recipe for NEW YAWK STRUDEL. Oh mah gawd, this NEW YAWK STRUDEL. It took forevah to make I mean it was soooo much work. And it was out of this world! But my husband he took the recipe and you know what he did with it?! (This is the part of the story that I always finish for her because Oh my god I’ve heard it 87 times)

Lets say it all together:

I think the reason he *allegedly* flushed it down the toilet was it was so much work for her to make it and he didn’t want her to slave over it ever again. (Or maybe it didn’t taste good, the world may never know!)

It’s a cute story and my favorite part is how she emphasizes that it was NEW YAWK STRUDEL and she always says it as if it was in All CAPS AND WROTE OUT IN NEON ON A BIG MARQUEE! Oh New York Strudel, the height of all that is delicious and luxurious.

Hope you breathe deep soon grandmama 🙂