While working in San Francisco I got a call from a cousin that I was expecting but not looking forward to, telling me that my grandmother had passed away. She'd taken a quick turn for the worse in the past week or so, suffering a major stroke and fighting pneumonia and a relapse of cancer, the latter which she'd survived once already 30 years earlier. My mom was enroute from Alaska to McMinville, and I'd been planning a visit myself in a few days hoping for one last chance to say goodbye.
I stayed in the Portland area along with my mom at her youngest brother's house. We spent much of the visit packing up my grandma's stuff, moving her out of the home we'd moved her into not that long ago. It was a strange feeling to be surrounded by all her stuff filled with memories of the past, realizing it was the last time I'd be surrounded by all her photo collections and all the things that I'd associated with her for as long as I can remember. She was my last living grandparent, and the one I'd gotten to know the best by virtue of being an adult while she was alive. For years I'd been calling her on the telephone once every week or two and visiting once or twice a year, as often as I could pass through Oregon. I try and not think back on the weeks I didn't call when I should have, happy that I got to know her as well as I did.