I debated on what I wanted to title this, but through much thought, this was the best way to share how I really feel. Losing a grandparent sucks. If you’re reading this, it’s most likely because you’ve felt the pain that I’m feeling recently or you’re remembering one you’ve lost over the years at this moment. No matter what category you fall in, I’m sorry.
The biggest part of this post and most important to me, is that you know about Rita. The greatest loss I’ve had of a loved one and someone I cared for very much. Rita Amelia Flynn was my grandmother and the most amazing, courageous woman I ever met. Rita was one of the first people I remember baking cookies with, the woman who taught me the importance of 3 daily Hail Marys and the bold woman who wrote President Reagen to make construction changes in her Bronx neighborhood… to which he responded… and fixed what was broken! (I know… wow)!!
Rita was also my Grandmother– and she is missed more in this moment than ever. In the last year, I’ve had the pleasure of spending some very special moments with my Grandma and they’ve provided me with memories that will last a lifetime. She walked with my other Grandmother down the aisle as a “flower girl” in my wedding this past May- She had just turned 95 years old.
So why does losing a grandparent suck? THEY WERE AWESOME TO YOU! Grandparents spoiling their grandkids isn’t a myth… they gave us the fun stuff we wanted as we grew up, their house was the fun place to go and they gave the best hugs! The childhood appreciation lasts a long time, and then you think of life in young adulthood and how your appreciation for grandparents evolved. For me, I loved talking to my grandma about what life was like as she grew up… how she met my grandpa, what attracted her to him, what their first date was like, what it like having 8 kids etc etc etc. Your grandparents are (probably) the oldest family member you have- so you try and absorb as much of them as possible!
In this last year, at 95, Rita walked down the aisle at my wedding as a flower girl, she drank a Stella Artois or 2 at her birthday dinner, dressed as flawless and classy as ever, and finally, she laid her head to rest.
I literally just teared up typing that.
My grandma was AWESOME! She attended church daily, was loved by the congregation and gave more love to my family than most give in a lifetime. She made sure my siblings and I made it through Catholic school and that we felt loved every inch of our lives while she was here. The thing about losing your grandparent though, is that your love for them stays with you even when they’re gone! She may be gone, but I still feel Rita with me. When I pray, I know she’s the extra booster next to God, helping pass my hopes and prayers up his way.
She was, and is, the best.
In 2nd grade I had to write a report on who in my life I thought would become a saint. I chose Rita. I’ve always looked up to this amazing woman, and in those moments and now, I had the blessed privilege of calling her Grandma.
Rita Amelia Flynn, Grandma, I love you so much. Thank you for impacting my life in so many ways… tell Grandpa we love him and say Hello. You were the best for 95 years and lived a long, healthy, amazing life. As perfectly said by my Grandmothers priest: she lived a long life, but we simply miss her- the world needs more of Rita Flynn.
To those reading this because you miss your grandparents too, take some time and cherish the moments you had with them! I believe my grandma is still with me, and your loved one is still with you, too. The best way you can honor their life, is by living yours in a way that would make them proud.
To our amazing grandparents,