She was not my mother's or my father's mother. She was a women in my neighborhood who didn't have any grandkids close by, and I didn't have any grandparents close by, so we adopted each other.
She was wonderful to me. She gave me my first real job (paper routes don't count). She taught me all about time cards, filing, Excel, inventorying, balancing checkbooks and money smarts. She was an emergency preparedness nut and instilled in me a love for food storage. She taught me you get less wrinkles if you smile. She taught me about service. She taught me about old people.
It's hard when you grow up calling someone grandma your whole life, you treat her like a grandparent, she treats you like a grandkid, and when you get to her funeral you realize you actually aren't even related to this women. Her family asks you who you are and why you drove two and a half hours and you stutter a lame response; "Um...we lived close and she was really nice to me." or "She was the one who told me about the Y2K bug and all the doom it would bring (She told me all this in 1998)." or "I waited in her hospital room while she had surgery to remove tumors and was there for the months of chemo treatments that followed."
Sadly, this was not my first time with this experience. This was my third not-biological-grandparent funeral (Fourth if you count Drek's grandmother). I am grateful that my biological grandparents are still alive and doing well, but...I don't know. I feel very un-validated. I feel like I don't have a right to mourn. After all three funerals I feel like the experience somehow cheapened our relationship.
It was fun to finally meet her biological grandchildren for the first time. As the person that balanced her checkbook for two years, I knew for a who she sent birthday checks to, and how much, and thus, who her favorites were. It was exciting for someone to introduce themselves and I could instantly say "Oh! I know how much she loved you." or "Ah. So you're the rebel."