Situ was one special lady and one amazing grandmother. I have so many memories of her that it’s hard to pick just a few I want to share in this post. This is very hard for me to write and publish onto my blog, mostly because I’m forcing myself to remember the details in order for them to be written down. Situ is in Heaven now and although she is in no more pain, I miss her terribly. But the memories I have with her will last forever. Here are just a few…
We share a birthday, March 18th. Every birthday, she’d call me on the phone and we’d sing happy birthday to each other. We’d laugh and laugh because we were singing the same song except for the end, in which we both sang, “Happy birthday, Dear….” After that part, we’d giggle and she’d tell me how she couldn’t believe I was a year older. “You were just a baby!” She’d say. She’d then go on to tell me that the day I was born, she was so excited that I had finally arrived, she hugged and kissed the doctor on the cheek after he opened the door and broad casted the joyous news.
I remember going to Situ’s house one day. She told me and my brother to put the Beach Boys’ Greatest Hits CD into the CD player and make up dances to go along with the songs. “I’ll be your judge,” she said from her chair. And so my brother and I spent the afternoon making up dances, acting silly, being judged by Situ, and laughing the day away with her. “You know,” she said. “I was a good dancer when I was younger. I could do the jitterbug.” That amazed me.
I slept over her house a lot when I was younger. She would make me banana splits and we’d watch her favorite TV show together, Everyone Loves Raymond. She’d laugh so hard, I’d start to laugh, too. I had no idea what was so funny, because I focused more on Situ laughing then the actual show. Her laugh was contagious; it could make anyone laugh. “Oh my,” Situ would say. “This show makes me laugh so much.” And then she’d smile and eat her ice cream sundae and ask if I wanted anything else to eat. She always asked if I wanted something to eat. I would shake my head “no, I’m good,” and then two minutes later, she’d ask again. It was the Lebanese way of hospitality.
When I was younger, Situ could drive and go to her favorite store, CalDoor. One day she took me with her. Being the young girl that I was, I stopped when I saw a shiny pink watch on display. “It’s pretty,” I said. Situ knew I loved it and didn’t hesitate a second as she picked it up and put it in her cart. She paid for it that very day; that watch was mine and I wore it all the time. Situ was like that. She knew exactly what I wanted or needed and would be the provider for it. Whether it was a hug, a laugh, a drink, or a glittery pink watch, Situ knew just what to do or say.
She called me, “My Keri,” and I was her grand daughter who she loved very much. Every time a nurse would come over or a friend would stop to visit, she’d point to me proudly and say, “Keri and I share a birthday. She looks just like me when I was younger.” When I was little, I didn’t see the resemblance at all, but looking back at her younger self, I see it now. Situ had black hair and green eyes. Her smile was bright and cheerful. She posed in every picture, because she loved the camera.
Situ and I would talk on the phone a lot. We’d talk about random things, but the conversation always seemed to lead to playing the piano. “Let me hear what you’re learning,” she’d say. So I’d prop the phone on the piano shelf and play my latest piece. She’d say it was wonderful, even if I made many mistakes. She’d say it was beautiful and she’d want to hear another one because she loved when I played piano.
Until she could no longer walk easily, Situ slept over our house on Christmas Eve. She’d sleep in my bed and I would sleep in the boys’ room. When I woke up, Situ would be downstairs waiting for us to come down excitedly. She’d sit on the couch and watch us open the gifts we’d gotten from our parents. She’d want to know what they were and would ask us how to work some of them. A smile was always on her face at Christmastime. Two days later, when we’d go to her house for Christmas, her smile would still be there as we opened the gifts she’d bought us. One year it was my Barbie doll house. Another year, it was American Girl clothes. Another year, it was clothes that I had been wanting. Every year, Situ wanted to buy us what we wished for and every year, she’d smile and say that it was the best Christmas ever.
One day, I sat on the couch watching TV with her. This was one thing we both did together. We’d watch a show and then laugh together. An Elvis commercial came on, where you could buy collector’s edition items such as Elvis CDs, posters, and mugs. Situ sighed impatiently. “These people need to let Elvis rest in peace! I loved Elvis. Sure, I had a huge crush on him when I was younger, but you don’t see me talking about him all the time! You don’t see me wanting to keep him alive. Poor Elvis needs to rest in peace! He had his time, he did his duty. Now let him rest!” This was the Situ I knew…she cracked me up at the random times.
For my 16th birthday, Situ promised me her car. She was older now and wasn’t able to walk very well, let alone drive. She stayed in her house the majority of the time, because it was getting harder and harder for her to walk and move around. She handed me her keys with one closing thought. “Now, Keri,” she said to me seriously. “It’s a good car. I want you to go to the store for me sometimes, okay? And always take care of it for me.” I promised I would and I have kept my promise so far. She smiled, gave me the keys, and requested her bag of Oreos so she could take two. And then she handed them to me and said, “Are you hungry? Have some Oreos.”
When Situ was in the hospital last week, I went to visit her so many times. It was hard to see her so frail and unable to speak, because that was what she loved to do. She loved to share her thoughts and then laugh at a certain thing she found funny. In the hospital, although unable to speak, Situ was able to squeeze my hand. So that is what she did. I’d say “I love you, Situ,” and she’d squeeze her hand back in reply. I’d say, “Hi, Situ. It’s Keri,” and she’d squeeze her hand in reply. It took enormous amounts of strength for her to squeeze my hand; I’m sure it hurt her sometimes. But she insisted on doing it. She fought through her pain and squeezed my hand when she wanted me to know she was there. Although unable to speak with words, these simple gestures spoke volumes.
On Thursday, we buried Situ and held her memorial service. We honored her life and looked through many pictures of her throughout the years. It was a hard day. I knew she was in Heaven and dancing with Jesus, but at the same time, I wanted her back. I knew it was her time to leave this earth, but at the same time, I didn’t want her to go just yet. But there’s one thing I knew and know to this day, one day I will see her again. She will no longer be in pain or suffering. She will be running and dancing the jitterbug. She’ll laugh that infamous laugh again and squeeze my hand without pain. She will always be my Situ, my birthday buddy.