Two weeks ago, my grandmother, Freda Rozenblit, passed away at the age of 98. And with her passing came the loss of another one of my biggest fans.
My brother and I eulogized her at the funeral. There's always one or two things you want to say in a eulogy that slip your mind. One thing I did want to say, and I think it's appropriate here, is that my grandma read and kept everything I ever wrote. And I mean everything. High school newspaper clippings. College newspaper clippings. Major newspaper clippings. You name it, she had it. She always said that she had a file on me. I'm sure it was more inclusive than the FBI's.
I didn't get to share any of my Club Industry clippings with her. Not long before I joined here in 2007, the Alzheimer's began to invade my grandma's memory, and she was not her usual self. There were flickers of her old self here and there when we visited her in the nursing home, but that was it. Just flickers.
So for about seven or eight years, we really didn't have the Grandma Freda I used to know, the loving, feisty, always unabashed and opinionated grandma whom we all loved. But strong as an ox, she fought on, even to the last day. At the funeral, I compared her passing to how I felt when we lost Jack LaLanne, a pillar of strength whose death came as a shock, and how his 96 years were not enough. The same applies here. With Grandma, 98 years simply were not enough.
I asked aloud at the eulogy why we were all so sad at Grandma's passing. I said it was because she reminded us of how happy we used to be. To me, that happiness included getting together on fall weekends with Grandma, Uncle Alex (Grandma's brother and another one of my favorite fans), and us Goldmans to watch our favorite teams: the Kansas City Royals, the Kansas City Chiefs and the Missouri Tigers. It's been a good run for all three this year. The Royals had their best season in 25 years, and the Tigers and Chiefs are both undefeated so far in 2013.
The days of getting together to watch the big game are long gone. Uncle Alex died in 2005, and Dad died unexpectedly in 2008, and I think Grandma's passing triggered that pain. Like Grandma and Alex, Dad was perhaps my biggest fan.
Last Saturday, I sat down to watch the Mizzou football team play Georgia, and I was basically alone. Gracie, my youngest, and my wife were both out of the house. Natalie, my oldest, was with me but playing games on the computer. I'm not doing the best job of raising sports fans.
Mizzou beat Georgia 41-26, despite losing our top offensive and defensive players, despite playing in a hostile environment on the road in Athens, GA. It was arguably the biggest road win for the Tigers in 35 years, and it was the kind of statement win we all used to share and celebrate as a family.
After the final gun went off, the phone rang, and it was Mom, calling from her house. Then my cell phone rang, and it was my brother, who had just landed back in Seattle after a vacation. I had the landline phone in one hand and my cell phone in the other, both on speaker, creating a makeshift three-way conversation.
We didn't talk long, but for a brief moment on a sunny Saturday afternoon, separated by 1,800 miles, we enjoyed a big win, just like we used to, when we were all together.