I read somewhere recently that Elvis gets about 100 Valentines sent to him at Graceland every year. I’m sure that number was significantly higher in the years closer to his death (or whatever you believe surrounding that). When I stumbled upon that information, I wondered if my grandma had ever sent him one; the woman LOVED Elvis. I can almost be sure if she did, it probably had a crisp $5 bill inside.
Jan. 10th 2013 (tomorrow) marks one year since she passed and not a day has gone by that I haven’t thought of her in some way. Being back home for Christmas was hard. Everyone having one less present to open from her and one less to pick out and wrap for her. We had a tradition where everyone would open their presents first while grandma walked around and took pictures. Then, once everyone was done, she’d open her pile of probably 40+. Shopping for her gifts was never easy- with 9 kids, 26 grandkids, and 13 great-grandchildren all buying her gifts for as many years as we can all remember, she had EVERYTHING.
Christmas 2011 was my first Christmas since moving to Colorado so I got her a framed picture of me sitting at Summit Lake on Mt. Evans, as well as an Elvis Christmas ornament and homemade DVD of various pictures/videos I’ve taken of Colorado scenery. That way she could see what I was up to and where I was living since she’d never been out this way. She never got to watch the DVD or hang Elvis on “grandma’s big tree” but I kept Elvis and he’ll always have a place on my tree. The picture was placed in the casket and buried with her after I wrote a little message on the back. I used the frame it was in to hold her funeral program and a flower I (as well as the rest of the grandkids) got from her casket arrangement.
I can remember the night she died and finding out, the drive back to South Dakota- my mind racing in disbelief, the visitation, the funeral, my family a mess and in tears- all of it in vivid detail. But there are things I’m starting to forget. I’ve been trying to remember as much as possible but things from years past are starting to blur or maybe already had blurred before it was too late to make new memories, but I just hadn’t felt the need to call on them since I figured I’d have more time. I wish I could have/would have taken one whole day to hear her tell stories- any stories she wanted from her life and written them all down so they could never be forgotten.
I guess moral of the story: cherish the memories you have- write them down, tell them to other people. Make sure your lost loved ones aren’t forgotten even after you’re not around. I hope my future kids get even longer with their grandparents that I did but in case they don’t, they will hear all kinds of stories- as far back as I can remember, even ones about their late, great-grandma and how every year she’d send me (and maybe Elvis) a card with a crisp $5 bill and a simple, “Happy Valentine’s Day, Love ya- Grandma S.”