a tribute to my grandma peaches

A few months ago, we said goodbye to my sweet grandma, Marie, after her long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

I was her only granddaughter–or, in other words–the only grandchild who (publicly) asked for nail polish and Barbie’s at Christmas. I’m sure each of us grandkids could tell you a different story–ways that Grandma made each of us feel so unique and special, or ways that she made us laugh or laughed along with us. I don’t want to speak for anyone else, but I feel confident saying that we all know we were so lucky to have her as our grandma.

Somewhere along the way, we all started calling her “Grandma Peaches,” but between you and me–I never really knew where that came from, and because I wanted to be cool like my older cousins and my brother, I started calling her that, too.

I will most certainly make you hungry by telling you about her heath bar candy that was always sitting out, a bowl of fresh radishes in cold water on the kitchen table, her peanut butter fudge at Christmas, her special chicken and noodles and homemade mashed potatoes. I remember after she would lie out her homemade noodles, my mom and I would sneak in and eat them before they could finish drying… because that was really the best part, anyway.

It wasn’t just her cooking; she was hospitable through and through. The true art of hospitality is allowing someone to feel at home in your house without looking like you’re trying, and she always nailed that. Her home was wide open to us, with chips and dip usually on the table, Andes mints near the door, and a pantry full of saltine crackers and easy-spread cheese. She gave us permission to fully be ourselves while also proudly supporting who we were.

Out of everything, her jovial spirit and perpetual smile is what I will always remember. She taught me how to welcome someone into my home without reservation or cause, how to laugh loudly and cheer wildly, and that a dog really can be a man’s (or woman’s) best friend. She was soft and kind—willing to sit, listen, and play, and I am so privileged that I got to be her granddaughter. We love you, Grandma. You are whole now.

Note: My sweet friend, Jackie, is raising funds for Alzheimer’s research with the Alzheimer’s Association, the world’s leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support, and research. Jackie and I both lost our grandmas to Alzheimer’s, and this cause was close to my heart.