She was a teeny Ukrainian woman who made amazing pirogies. She would fry them in about 4 inches of fat and serve them to us for breakfast. Oh mercy were they good. Her name was Anna, but my Pupup called her Ann. I didn't know her name was actually Anna until I had my daughter, and Grandma gave me a cross necklace to keep & give to her someday. Her name was on the back of it.
I need to write out her biography sometime. She lived through the Depression, had a giant brain tumor surgically removed and was a devout Catholic. She was amazing. I miss her like crazy; she died right after Little Christmas seven (eight?) years ago. Her death was so perfect, which I know sounds crazy, but it was. Her health was declining for years, with osteoporosis stooping her slim frame. After a few 'incidents' and falls at her home, my father and aunt moved her from her house to live here. My folks got her settled in their guest room, and began making plans to accommodate her needs. I remember how I felt when my Dad talked about putting a safety bar in the tub so she would have something to grasp. I knew she wouldn't need it, because I knew she was going to die. I was keenly aware of these being her last days. Why God revealed this to me, I don't know, but I was the only one who knew that I'm aware of. I thought it would be a month, but not much longer than that. She lived for ten days after she moved in. She was able to be with us in her last days, after years of living several hours away. I went to the house nearly every day, and she got to really know my kids. Maybe that's why God let me in on the secret, so I would visit as much as possible.
My family celebrates Little Christmas, also known as Epiphany. We get together and eat lots of good Ukee food like halupke (stuffed cabbage), pirogies and fried whiting. My Irish/German/Scotch/Awesome mother was the one who initiated this tradition, first as a way to get together and give gifts that had been forgotten in a closet at Christmas. It has become one of my most favorite celebrations, keeping my father's family heritage alive. I think my Mom is incredible for so fully embracing the culture she married in to. (She even learned to make Ukrainian Easter eggs, which I will have to post about another time - amazing!)
So we celebrated that Little Christmas, and my Grandma was quietly thrilled. She loved being there with all of the family and although she was under 90 pounds and had little appetite, she loved the food.
My Grandma passed away quietly of congestive heart failure, in a comfortable chair in my father's living room. She died after spending ten days with the family that loved her deeply. She died at peace, and was welcomed into Heaven by the Jesus she loved. It was perfect.