Impossible Realities

RIP Lucia, 1923 - 2016

RIP Lucia, 1923 – 2016

It’s the end of an era. A great 20th century love story known as “Sam and Lucy.”

My grandmother died in the wee hours of yesterday morning: April 28, 2016. My whip-smart, beautiful, feisty, Sicilian grandmother, Lucia. She was in her own bed, and my grandfather held her in his arms until she turned to him and said “It’s time for me to go, Sammy.”

Because that’s how it had to end for the great institution of “Sam and Lucy.”

He’s taking it like the champion he is. I, however, am now having a hard time believing she’s really gone; up until the end she never seemed 92 years old to me. True love keeps you young, I guess.

But I’m still just so… sad. So much sadder than I expected to be because her life was so long and so full and she was so loved (so loved; I haven’t been able to stop responding to texts or emails or calls for 24 hours now and she was my grandmother; I’m almost 38 years old). I was prepared, of course – we all were – it’s just a little hard to believe we’ve entered a world without Lucy.

And even more than that: a world where there’s a Sam without Lucy.

Lucy was never an old lady to me. She was witty and beautiful and alive with an energy that old ladies don’t have, right up until I last saw her a month ago. She was drinking a beer, her hair looked amazing, and she was packing her fabulous one-liner barbs: “Taylor Swift is a jerk.”

And there was Sam, holding her hand through all of it. Baby-talking to her. Kissing her on the cheek.

Lucy was not a grandma; she never was. When she moved back to Michigan from California 30 years ago, after my Grandma Jane’s untimely death from cancer, my eight-year-old self resented her being “ungrandmotherly”. I didn’t get it. But I quickly learned that she was something else: whip-smart, bold, independent, unconventional… A woman before her time.

And she made no mistake, what was most important to her:

Sam was most important to her. And I loved her for that. God, it was so real. 

My grandfather knows how lucky he was to have her; he held onto her tighter than I’ve ever seen someone hold onto another human being, until she took her last breath.

And I know how lucky I was to have her, too. She gave me the courage to be the woman I want to be, and not just the woman the world told me to be.

I keep watching this video I made for Sam and Lucy’s 60th wedding anniversary – four years ago now – hoping Trent and I can be so lucky to live a life of love, like theirs, and die in each other’s arms some day…

Love you, Grandma. Thank you.

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8 thoughts on “Impossible Realities

  1. Margaret Wisniewski says:

    I just watched the video for the 25th time and I never get tired of it. True love. That’s all I can say. We are lucky if we can get a taste of it once in a lifetime. I did, and you did, too. That’s your grandmother’s legacy. She taught us how to love and she was darn good at it. And so are we. Love you all!

  2. I came across news of your loss on facebook. I loved watching the movie of pictures, its easy to see the love. Your mom in her younger years looks like such a combo of you and Sarah its pretty amazing. Lots of love to you and your family. I’m thinking of you.

  3. […] in the middle of the week of my beloved grandmother’s death, when I’m trying to rearrange my life so I can fly out to attend her funeral in Detroit […]

  4. […] the entire thing, struggling to keep my wits about me. But I had a feeling that was coming; as I’ve already mentioned, this cruel dismantling of the most precious institution in my life – the marriage of my […]

  5. […] it’s been almost exactly a year. And while at times my grandfather appears to be doing so well, I know there are other times when […]

  6. […] And yet, it happened. The day is here: there is no more Sam Spade on Planet Earth. He has gone to be with his “beautiful bride”, his “Lucy in the Sky”, as we’ve affectionately referred to her since her passing, two years ago now.  […]

  7. […] My obituary for my grandmother, Lucia… […]

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