Remembering Abbie Bonita
Last Thursday I was on the phone with my boss when my mother-in-law called. I wasn't able to answer it, but I was able to check my voice-mail right before jumping on my next conference call. She sounded strange. Upset, but unsure since she had gotten a call from the hospital chaplain, where her Mom was, asking her to come into town as soon as she could. She called to let me know that something was wrong with Bonita, but she wasn't sure what it was.
I sent Cody a message using BlackBerry messenger (the best way to talk with him during the day, since it's my work phone to his work phone) telling him that there was something wrong with his grandma, but no one knew anything and that his Mom was headed to the hospital. Just a few minutes later, Cody messaged me back saying that he had talked to his Dad, who was already at the hospital, and Bonita, his grandma, was gone.
I was dumbfounded. At 88 years old, Bonita was in fantastic health. She had fallen a few weeks ealier and had broken her hip, but was recovering quickly. She was only hospitalized because her medications were causing nausea, so no one was really worried. She had felt great Thursday morning as she was able to eat a full breakfast, but when she got up to use the bathroom, she complained to the nurse about not feeling well when all of a sudden she just collapsed. It turns out that a blood clot that was in her lungs went straight to her heart.
Bonita has lived with Cody's parents for the vast majority of the time we've been together, so I've had an opportunity to really get to know her over the past nine years. She was just SO excited about being a great grandmother, and that is the part that is hardest to deal with.
I know that she loved our daughter already, but it would have been amazing if she had been able to meet her. It's been difficult to deal with that part.
But we have lots of stories. Bonita was a talker and I sincerely enjoyed just getting to sit with her on a Saturday afternoon--listening to whatever was on her mind. Some of my favorites . . .
She was a Rosie the Riveter during World War II, she moved to the big city of Fort Worth (a decent distance away from the small town she grew up in) to work in an airplane parts factory. The funniest part is that no one knew about this until just a few years ago when Cody and I were asking questions about her past. She did it to find good work and to support the war effort--not for any kind of glory or recognition.
She kept notes on everything. Over the past week my mother-in-law has found the most random scraps of paper and notebooks commenting on the tornado of 1990 to the family that lived down the street from her in the 1940's. She even found notes on the last episode Bob Barker hosted on The Price is Right with every game and every prize listed.
Cody and I were always under the impression that Bonita loved giraffes. She had an entire collection that sat on the shelf next to her chair in the living room, so anytime we'd see a giraffe in a store or on a trip, we'd get her one. Well, last year I was hanging out with her and she starts to tell me about how Cody's little sister once brought home a giraffe for her, and being a gift from her granddaughter, she kept it. She went onto tell me that everyone started buying her more and more giraffes, but that she, in fact, didn't really like them. It took everything I had to not bust out laughing. All these years, right?
Her father was known as the town's bootlegger, likely stemming from Prohibition. She ended up marrying the town sheriff's son, Cody's grandpa. She would always get embarrassed when we'd ask her questions about it. To her, it was something to be ashamed of, but to us, it was an amazing story.
Bonita was also this crazy Texas Ranger's fan. Seriously, she was the most involved baseball fan I've ever met. She never missed a game and kept the scores of every single player at every single game. It was great because the Wednesday before she died she got to see the Ranger's in the playoffs. It's too bad she's not seeing them move on more than that, but I know she would just be so excited.
She was born in 1922 in the same area that Cody's parents grew up in, and the same area the Cody grew up in. She was a grown woman by the time electricity and cars were in the area. She also lived through The Great Depression, World War II, the invention of the airplane (and got to see the jet fighters that our military now uses), not to mention the huge advances in modern medicine and technology.
Her lifespan was through some of the most amazing years in history, and it was a honor to be able to experience what life was like through her eyes. She didn't have it easy and faced plenty of hardships, but I know that is one of many reasons why Cody is who he is today. It's through adversity that we become better people and the hard work ethic that his family has is an integral part of him.
We'll definitely have lots of stories to tell our daughter about her Great Grandma, Abbie Bonita.
We'll miss you, Bonita.