When I was a kid, I never understood why the Smuckers Strawberry Jam that came from Grandma’s house tasted so much better than the Smuckers Strawberry Jam that my mom bought at the store. Grandma’s jam was sweeter, the chunks of berry were larger, plus her jam had that the neat wax circle that was fun to pop off when you opened a new jar.
It took me awhile to realize that Grandma reused glass jars to make her own preserves.
I hadn’t thought about Grandma’s jam in years; she had long since stopped making her own. She probably stopped when the grandchildren were grown and gone. We weren’t around to eat it anymore. But when I was grocery shopping last week, that memory came back to me in a rush when I was picking up a jar of grape jelly for my kids.
I realized that there will be no more strawberry jam.
Grandma died on November 13. I loved her more than I could ever express but my feelings about her aren’t unique. Her husband, daughters, sons-in-law, and grandchildren all feel the same way. She expressed her love for her family through her kitchen. If you knew my brother and my cousins, we could all list a special thing Grandma just happened to have on hand when any of us came to visit. Cream puffs, raisin bread, refrigerator cookies, cherry pom pom cookies, fritters at Christmas time.
Those things are no more. The birthday cards, the polka music coming from her organ, the tiny lady sitting in the corner of the living room silently watching and enjoying everybody talk, laugh and play cards. Gone.
I’m 39 years old and this is the very first time I’ve lost someone so incredibly special to me. Grandma was in her 90’s so her passing didn’t come as a surprise. I knew that one day we wouldn’t have her anymore but experiencing it…you just can’t fully prepare yourself for that.
I miss her terribly.