Saturday, January 23, 2010

For Rita

Rita died in her sleep Friday morning, January 22nd. I really loved Rita. Rita was My Sweetie's Grandmother. I may have mentioned her before. After her husband died in April 2002, she sold their retirement home in Florida because she hated Florida. She had never been alone and so she did not buy another house and never lived alone, although she owned lake property in northern Michigan.
Rita had never been alone. She and her husband were one of those couples that did everything together. They were thick as thieves, as the saying goes. Xup has talked about her parents being like that and I'm too tired to find the link, but I think everyone knows what I mean. Some couples are like that. They had nine kids. Yes, nine. After Rita's husband died, she summered in Michigan with one daughter and wintered here in Texas with another daughter - my mother-in-law.
Everyone worried about Rita back in 2002 when her husband died because they had been so attached, but over time, Rita's individual spirit emerged. In a big way. Rita was a riot. She would say whatever she was thinking and most of the time it was funny as hell. And not in a way like you were laughing at her. She had a great sense of humor and used it. She laughed a lot. And maybe some of those times when she was being blunt, she didn't intend to be funny. But she was.
Several years ago when we were alone in my MIL's living room, I told her, "I really don't know what to call you." She replied, "Call me Rita, I hate being called 'Grandma'." I thought that was funny but my MIL does not like that story. About 4 years ago at my Christmas party she had several glasses of wine and was the highlight of the whole evening. I need to find those pictures. She wore a Christmas bow on her head the whole evening.
Speaking of that: For some reason I was really into making bows this Christmas and after I wrapped Rita's gift I took a picture.:

I never posted about my bows because it seemed sort of self indulgent at the time, but now I am so glad I took that picture. You may remember that I posted about our trip over to my MIL's house on Christmas eve and we had to turn back because of the ice and snow. Well, when we made it over there just after Christmas, she loved my bow and put it right on her head:
That cross she is holding was my gift to her. Rita has always been a devout Catholic so I thought she would like that. And Rita being who she was said the funniest thing when I gave it to her. She said, "I'll take this to get it blessed by a priest and then it will be special." That still cracks me up.
I walked into her bedroom today (Friday night) to see if I could feel her presence. I saw that cross on her dresser. Everyone knows I am not religious, but I had a strong feeling that I needed to get that cross blessed for her.

I am going to go to the local Catholic church this weekend to get a priest to bless it (hopefully I won't fry or turn to dust when I enter the building). Then I am going to take it with me to Michigan and place it in her casket. If you knew me you would gasp. I have always skipped the "viewing" parts of funerals. To me it seems ghastly and hideous. But I really loved Rita and I'm going to make an exception. Just for her. I have so many fun memories of Rita and the things she randomly said that only I heard. We had so much fun with her just four weeks ago. When she tried my tsatsiki sauce that I had made to have with my MIL's leg of lamb, she said, "This tastes like cucumbers." That was hilarious because we had already told her that it was a cucumber sauce. Maybe it was her delivery. She had a way of saying things. Really deadpan.
I always write out all the birthdays when I get a new calendar and add little stickers and I know I will be sad when I flip the calendar to August this year and see: Rita 90 along with a bright red star. I really loved Rita and I will miss every single thing about her. It's so hard to believe she is gone and I will never hear her voice again.
Good night sweet Rita, rest in peace. I love you.


VioletSky said...

My condolences, to all of you who loved her. I'm so glad you have so many fond memories of her.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

I am sorry for your loss. Rita seems to have lived a full life - blessed by and being a blessing to all her loved ones.

Big Brother said...

My condolences... she seems to have been a person who lived life to the fullest and touched those she loved around her... Take care.

Carole said...

Gee, so sorry for your and your Sweetie's loss of dear Rita. You know I'll be praying for you and your Sweetie and family.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Weren't they a Gorgeous Couple...He is so handsome and Rita is so very Beautiful. I am so sorry for your loss....It is so very hard when someone as distinct and memorable as Rita, dies...
I LOVE the idea of you getting the cross Blessed and putting it in her casket. I know what you mean about Open Caskets, but this certainly seems like a special and needed exception. RIP Rita.

Ily said...

This post brought tears to my eyes. I love the photo of you with Rita, the bow and the cross.

God bless her and may she rest in peace.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful tribute to a special woman in your life. My condolences to both you and your husband.

geewits said...

Thanks everyone. It's been a very busy weekend and we have made all the arrangements to get Rita back to Michigan and to get ourselves up there. We are fine - just worried about My Sweetie's mom. Thanks for all the nice thoughts.

Jazz said...

My condolences Geewits. She seems like she was a wonderful woman. You wrote a great tribute.

Mr. Jazz said...

Great post/tribute Geewits. My sincere condolences to the both of you.

Anonymous said...

Wonderfully written tribute. I hope you were able to share similar words at the funeral, because it's nice to hear things that will bring a smile to your face, even at the saddest of times.

Vancouver Voyeur said...

What a loving tribute.