Final Eulogy for Grandma Betty, Written by 2 Granddaughters

This is a letter, written to Grandma Betty, by her granddaughters Vanessa and Lacy Telles.
Dear Grandma,
Whenever I read the word “grandma” in a book, I envision you. To me, to us, you are the epitome of the word, the idea, the existence of “grandma”. Slightly overweight, jolly, wearing big glasses and sweatshirts and perming your silver hair. This is what a grandma looks like. You cooked for us, spoiling us on our birthdays with meringues and popcorn balls. You made mashed potatoes for holidays and put out a plate of olives ostensibly for Grandpa Otto, but we loved them, too. And you were a good cook, Grandma, and you passed that along to your daughter, who in turn passed it on to us. Christmas was warm with your cooking. This is what a Grandma smells like. You supplied us with fresh tomatoes from your amazing garden, teaching me that with salt there is maybe nothing better than a garden fresh tomato, and the ubiquitous grape soda. (But oh how you made it clear that we were not to leave a half-drunk soda in the fridge...we had to finish it!) You were soft when you hugged us and the tops of your hands were pliable and your lips were thin and wrinkled when they kissed us. This is what a grandma feels like. When we got underfoot, and inevitably we did, or when it was time to wrap up our game and sit down for dinner, you would yell out a slew of names before you got to the right one. “Shelly, Treen, Jenny, Ro, I mean Vanessa, Lacy!” which made us laugh, which just added to your frustration. This is what a grandma sounds like.
And our memories are our own, but they overlap with each other, and probably with those of our cousins, and they probably vary from our Mom's or our Aunts' or our Uncle's, because you were their mom, and I think maybe you settled into the role of “grandma” with a little more ease.
And so we remember:
You had many things that fascinated us. A menagerie in a glass cabinet, though we can't remember what those things were, but there was a big cabinet for displaying them. Your craft room was labeled "Betty Stablein Manager", and it had tomato shaped balls for sticking sharp pins, and scraps lying about. You had this one glass top table that was hollow on the inside, filled with a fairy wonderland of trolls and fake moss and another world. I never understood when and how the cast of characters changed, but sometimes we would show up and something new had appeared.
You had fancy looking perfume bottles in your room, and Betty Boop paraphernalia scattered about the house. You also had an embarrassingly large collection of Harlequin novels.
You kept a giant trunk full of legos that were at our disposal every time we came over. We would dump it out on the living room floor, and you allowed this.
Games play a large role in our collection of memories. We played gin, Pokeno, rummy, waterworks, dominoes, Yahtzee, go fish, cards, and it is pretty clear that you implanted the gambling bug in our blood. We often played old maid. For some reason, even though it was just the three of us, this game held our attention endlessly. You thought it was appropriate to tease the loser by saying over and over again “You're the old maid, you're the old maid,” and one time I chimed in so it was two against one saying “You're the old maid.” Lacy, who hates to lose, burst into tears. That taught me not to kick somebody while they are down because 20 years later, I still feel kinda bad.
We loved to play Monopoly, but this used to torture you because we used to get pretty heated about some "Telles family rule" or some other perceived wrong. I guess our arguing got to be too much because one day you proclaimed Monopoly was banned from the house. At the time, we did not take you seriously. I mean, who bans monopoly? Well, come to find out, you were totally serious. We never played Monopoly in your house again.
There was one time at the Palm house when you gave an old partial loaf of bread to the two of us and Eric to feed the birds in your backyard. This bread was seriously old, as in it was covered with moldy patches. After awhile we looked over and it turns out that while we were feeding the birds, Eric, just a small toddler, had been contentedly chomping on the moldy bread. We immediately ran in to tell you and you, in turn, burst into belly laughter.
We can envision you sitting in your chair, watching the news, Empty Nest, or the Golden Girls, caressing Monsieur as he sat on your lap. You were so dang proud of that cat. You would sit with your hands across your large belly, laughing, and saying “ Wellll . . .”
You were a master at hosting garage sales, and at taking us “garage-sale-ing”.
You had an endless supply of nicknames. When we were a little older, I remember mercilessly teasing you. Shelly was often the instigator. When you finally realized the joke was on you, you would usually call us "turkeys" and when we were older, "shitbirds". We are still not exactly sure what a "shitbird" is, but it was funny.
You were a good Grandma to us, and we are blessed with so many memories. We love you.
I remember my mom asking me years ago if I thought Grandma Betty's dumplings were as good as they used to be. I was kind of puzzled and then realized my mom was trying to figure out if something was different about her mom, like her mom was losing some parts of herself. Denser than normal dumplings signify the beginning of losing my grandma. It feels strange to say "I miss her", “we miss her”, now that she has passed, because truthfully we have all been missing her for quite some time. Watching the dementia creep in, grab hold, then eventually consume was so hard, and bearable only because of our family that shared the fear with us. We find comfort in this amazing family that shares our blood, and in the comfort of knowing she is finally at peace.