Friday, July 6, 2018

Jello Jiggies

It seems like an odd way to begin a tribute to my grandma Linda, but it's true. I'll always remember her for a lot of things but mostly for her Jello Jigglers, which my kids called "jiggies".

About two years ago, shortly before I had Lucy, my grandma Linda was diagnosed with cancer. It was in her bile duct, which is random and weird, and though she exhausted every medical avenue, it proved too much for her. She fought like hell all the way to the end but last week she gained her angel wings. We knew it was coming, I had been prepared since I heard about it, but it's never quite the same, you know?

Olivia and Jackson have great memories of her and grandpa Dennis, they went to every kid movie that came out, they've done sleep overs, gone to the Wilderness Walk together, and now that they were getting older they wanted to do more trips with the kids. The kids were SO excited about that.
I'm grateful that she did get to see Lucy before they moved and she got sicker. They were some of the first people to hold Lucy and that will always be special. Grandma Linda had a pretty cool life but she was always an example that you're never too old to live out a dream. She went to college, graduated with honors, and then retired. I'm sorry her and grandpa didn't get to travel more like they wanted to.

But let's talk about some fond memories that I have. Grandma Linda is actually my step-dad's step-mom, so she's like a step-step-Grandma, but she was always just grandma to me. When we moved to Cloquet in 1991 she took my brother and I in like we had always been her grand kids. I remember holidays at their home, and coming over a few weeks before to put window clings on all of her windows. She would bring just me and I'd get to decorate every window while she made cookies and I always got to go home with a plate. I remember spending the weekend while my parents went on a trip. I remember seeing her drive, only once ever, when she picked me up so we could go see The Babysitter's Club movie in the theater.

When I had children she loved them fiercely. She was at every birthday, always sent cards with envelopes decorated in stickers, and was quick to email me back.

But back to Jello. When we were growing up grandma Linda had Jello Jigglers for every holiday. Honest to god, if there was a jiggler mold, she had it. One Christmas she made Jello trees and for whatever reason my brother and I were goofing around and he threw one at me. It went high, hit the wall of the stairwell so high that nobody could reach it. So there we were, one Christmas evening, balancing on the ledge with a bar of Avon soap tied to a yard stick with a wash cloth, in an attempt to wash the wall.

It obviously didn't work and that stain was there for years until it was painted over only two years ago. My mom never knew what caused the stain.

Fast forward to being a parent and hosting holiday dinners, grandma Linda always brought pie, deviled eggs (because I can't make them without gagging but all of the guys love them), a side dish, and Jello jigglers. Without fail. My kids began to expect them so she was making large quantities of these jigglers and pretty soon all four kids would get excited when they saw the tray of them.

Shortly after Christmas 2017 I got a box in the mail from Grandma. Not very heavy but large. When I opened it up and saw it was packed full of her Jello molds I knew that we weren't going to have her much longer. She must have known because for her to pass them onto me was a big deal. I remember looking through them all, having memories of each one, and crying because there would never be anyway to replace her. Her presence will be missed at every holiday dinner and every birthday party. I can no longer expect the best tray of Christmas cookies ever. Or pie. Because I hate baking pies.

On Easter I was getting dishes ready and Olivia asked me if I had made any jiggies. I hadn't. But I got down the molds, found a couple of boxes of Jello, and we made big eggs and some little jelly beans. I remember taking a picture of my molds chilling in the fridge and texting her to let her know they were already being used. I got back a smiley face.

We emailed and texted until she couldn't anymore. Olivia wrote letters regularly and texted her updates about school. Poor Olivia is heartbroken that she's passed but she understands the circumstances. I know I told her how much she meant to me and I shared some favorite memories that I have of her, and I told her I loved her. But it feels like you can never say those things enough to someone. It never feels like enough.

Today Matt and I, along with Olivia and Jackson, will attend her funeral and burial. I'm heartbroken and it doesn't even matter that we all know we'll bury people we love. Though I know it, it doesn't make it any easier.


The Flynnigans said...

Ahh Sara, I'm so sorry. Sending my deepest condolences and hugs to you and yours. xoxo

Shybiker said...

My condolences on your loss. This post is poignant.

Life Love & High Heels said...

Love the jello mold story. Funny how the simplest things can mean the most. Glad you got her molds to continue the tradition.

Tanya @ Girl Plus Books said...

I’m so sorry for the loss of your grandmother. She sounds like a person who truly lived her life to the fullest. And you obviously have many wonderful memories of her. My thoughts are with you and your family as you attend the funeral today.
Tanya @ Girl Plus Books

Shann Eva said...

I'm so sorry for you loss. She sounds like an amazing person and Grandma. You were lucky to have each other.

Shooting Stars Mag said...

I'm so sorry to hear this, Sara. I hope Olivia is doing okay too. It's not easy losing people you love but it's great you have so many fond memories.


Julie H said...

And now I'm crying at work. So sorry :( She just sounds like such a fantastic lady!

thotlady said...

I know the feeling, we lost our mother this past May. So very sad, wrapping up someones life that we love so much.