life, memoir, thoughts

Grandma’s Thursday

I hadn’t planned on posting this Thursday, but then decided I wanted to share something special to me.

Some people might remember their loved ones who’ve past away on their birthday, or on the day they died. I tend to remember my Grandma on this Thursday every year. It’s not her birthday which is September 13th, nor is it the day she died, December 4th.  It’s also not this date, April 5th, that has any significance. It is today … a Holy day … the Thursday before Easter, that always brings back sweet memories of my Grandma.

Grandma was a devout Catholic. You could find rosary beads and statues of saints around her home. I am not a devout Catholic like her, but I am devout in my spirituality. I’m open to all faiths … all ways … and being exposed to my Grandma’s way, has always been something I cherished.

Holy Thursday is special to me because it was “our day.” When I was a child, on Holy Thursday, Grandma used to take me from church to church to light candles and pray. I remember how she told me that when you walk into a church you’ve never been to before, you get to make a wish to God, and it will come true. Would you believe that many of those wishes I made came true?

I’m feeling melancholy in my memories of those days. I just wanted to remember on my blog, with anyone willing to read. One set of rosaries hung on the wall in the entryway to her bedroom. They are an ivory set that I took for my home when she died. They are hanging in the entryway to my bedroom now.

When I was around nine-years-old, I used to ogle a statue on her bedroom dresser. It looked like a beautiful little girl, but Grandma said it was a boy. He wore a sparkling robe which glistened in my pupils when I marveled in front of the dresser’s mirror at him. Grandma knew how much I loved him, and she bought me one the very same for my dresser at home. She said, “Now Lori, you put him in a place on your dresser where he faces your bedroom door. Every time you enter he blesses you with protection. He will always protect you from harm.”

To this day, forty years later, the Infant of Prague faces my bedroom door. The robed little boy is the baby Jesus. The historical significance to the Infant of Prague dates back to the 14th century. The story I heard by my Grandma is in the first paragraph at this link. Infant of Prague.

I can still envision some of those churches we visited in my mind’s eye. Some altars ornate, some simple. Some with stained glass windows of angels or stations of the cross. One of them had a little grotto built inside, a replica of the Lourdes grotto where Bernadette saw an apparition of the Blessed Virgin.

Because this day is special for me, I broke open a book I found in Grandma’s home after she died. It’s a book of Catholic prayers, or epistles she used to say. To the left is what it looks like. Would you believe, that when I took it out of my drawer, it fell open to this page with a photo of me as a little girl inside? Yep, Gram and I had a connection.I have no intention of discussing religion or my beliefs here. My purpose for this blog is to remember and honor my grandma. She is with my forever friend, Piezon, living in bliss and waiting to greet me when it’s my turn. You can read more about her in my free memoir read, here. I am blessed to have had her as my grandmother.

Here’s a shortened version of a poem I wrote about her right after she died in 1990.

Love You Too Gram

When I was a child she watched me with care.
She played with me, dressed me, and braided my hair.
I was her precious “gran-baby.”
She always said “yes” not “no” or “maybe.”

We’d go to church and pray together,
She took me along no matter what the weather.
She enjoyed helping people in need.
She cooked big feasts and loved to feed.

When we’d go shopping we’d joke and smile.
She’d even include strangers for a while.
She’d buy me precious, meaningful gifts.
Her hug and a smile somehow gave me a happy lift.

She saw humor in most everything.
Her jolly laugh was contagious as a fresh breath of spring.
She’d laugh so hard that she’d cry.
She was so alive, I never thought she’d die.

Such a joyful spirit in my Grandma Lee
In my heart she will always stay with me.

by Lori (L. Virelli)
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17 thoughts on “Grandma’s Thursday”

  1. This is really special. I think perhaps you got many of us thinking of our departed grandmas and grandpas, our special ones. I also think it’s cool that you think of her on a day not associated to her birth or death days. What a gift on this week every year…

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  2. Lovely tribute to your grandmother. It made me cry as well, and remember my own grandma, who passes away 5 years ago this spring. She was also catholic, and had some interesting stories to tell about being catholic in the NW in the 20’s. We are blessed to have had such caring people in our lives.

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    1. Ellie, thank you for reading and commenting. You are right, we are blessed to have had such wonderful people in our lives. It’s nice to remember the good they brought into our lives. I’m so glad you stopped by.

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  3. This is truly beautiful. You made me cry. My own Grandma was a bit of a mean one, but how I miss my Mom.
    Very touching, Lori.
    Debbie

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    1. Thank you for reading about her and for you kind comment, Debbie. I’m sorry that you miss your mom. Holidays make it tougher sometimes. I’m so glad I can think if my Gram and smile.

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  4. Oh my. I loved my Mama Lou so much as well. She too was the spiritual head of our clan. She lived to be 94 years old and dies on March 11 when I was 51. I was so blessed to have had her for so long. She lived to see five generations of her family. I love your poety. It touches me.

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    1. Thank you so much for reading about her. Your Mama Lou sounds like a strong lady. My Grandma, in this blog post, died in a car accident only two years after that photo was taken (at the top of the blog). My other grandparents lived into their 90’s though. It’s wonderful to have them for so long.

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  5. Wonderful .. way to bring your grandma to us .. a woman with beautiful looks – heart and soul.
    Lot of love in your words … and a lot of longing. Truely beautiful.

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