I found out on Thursday that my Grandma Rajala passed away. I don't know why I haven't said much about it. Maybe it doesn't feel real yet? It happened very quickly, yet it's kind of been happening for a while now. Since my Grandpa died last summer, Grandma hasn't quite been the same. They were two halves that fit together so well. I'm sure that she has felt so lost these past few months. My mom helped provide a sense of consistency and continuity for her, though. She and Dale went up north to the UP of Michigan every couple of weeks. The last time they were up there they brought her to the casino in Houghton, which she loved! Grandma has always had a weakness for the slots and when they were younger and more mobile, she and Grandpa would take trips in their RV to Nevada to gamble. It was always one of her favorite things.
My Grandma has always been a strong woman. She was born into a stoic Swedish family. Her mom died when she was young and her older brother (my mom's Uncle Dick) basically took on the role of raising her. He made sure she finished school, even though times were tough. She and my grandpa met when he and his friend stopped their car to pick up two female hitch-hikers: my grandma and her friend! Their romance was real and their love was enduring. Grandma worked as the Postmaster of the local branch for many years. She also had a knack for very complicated puzzles (several in 3D), and I always remember a word search book within her reach. I have very fond memories of visiting her in the UP, picking raspberries on their 40 acres and sitting by a campfire at Norway Lake. It is so strange to think that I will never again go up north to visit my grandparents. They are no longer there. They have always defined that place for me, and now only memories of them are left. The love will always remain.
My heart goes out to my mom, who has now lost both of her parents. I don't want to imagine what that is like. Plans for a memorial service and burial have not been determined yet.