Thursday, January 5, 2017

January 16th

January 16th.

January 16th is the birthday of my grandmother and my best friend. My grandmother was born on January 16, 1939, and Cohen was born on January 16, 1989. Exactly 50 years apart.

When Cohen and I were in college, we lived close to my grandparents. We made many trips to visit them while we were away at school; it was our "escape" from the stresses of college life. We could go to their house and relax, talk, laugh, walk to the park down the road, and watch our favorite shows and movies. Those times are some of my most cherished memories.

Cohen and I eating French fries in my grandparents' kitchen during one of our visits (2010).
My favorite visits to my grandmother's house were when we would celebrate her birthday and Cohen's birthday together. We would order takeout from Memories' Pizza & Ice Cream, our favorite place in the small town my grandparents lived in. Cohen and I would go pick it up - pizza with barbecue sauce, lots of cheese, and veggies. We would also pick out fun ice cream flavors at the shop and watch as they scooped it from the freezer into pint-sized containers.

My grandfather would always go to bed early, but Cohen and I would stay up late with my grandmother, popping bags of microwave popcorn, dumping them in plastic bowls, and covering them with salt and melted butter. We would eat the popcorn and ice cream from Memories' together, loving the sweet and salty combination. I remember the time we even convinced my grandmother to watch the original Twilight movie with us. Since they didn't have a DVD player, Cohen and I dragged my grandfather's old TV out of his bedroom and hooked her portable DVD player up to it. The screen was so small, but we enjoyed every bit of that night together.

Sometimes after a late night of talking, sharing stories, and eating snacks, we would get up the next morning and go shopping. My grandmother's favorite place to go was Bailey's, a huge discount store near her house where you could find anything and everything. We would sometimes spend hours there and Cohen and I would take pictures of all the weird treasures we would find in the warehouse (tea sets, Veggie Tales themed cookware, giant stainless steel bowls, outdated lollipops in strange flavors, etc.).

The three of us would always have fun together, regardless of whether or not we were celebrating their shared birthday.

On my wedding day in October 2012, my grandmother got sick, went into the hospital, and was never able to come home. She passed away on July 31, 2013. During the summer of 2012, Cohen started having concerning symptoms with her vision and was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor in 2013. After having major brain surgery in May 2013 to reduce the size of her tumor, Cohen's mother drove her over two hours to attend my grandmother's funeral in early August. Even though Cohen had just endured unimaginable pain and heartache after her diagnosis and surgery, she was there for me. Cohen, with her hair shaved and an eye patch covering her eye that was injured from the surgery, sat next to me as we shared stories about my grandmother and remembered our time together. As we laid my grandmother to rest, Cohen was the last one that stayed behind at the cemetery with my family.

Now, three years later, I know my time with Cohen here is short. Back in July, Cohen stopped responding and is being cared for by her family at home. In November during a visit to the emergency room, we found out Cohen has just a short time left with us.

January 16th is a difficult day because it reminds me of what I've lost, but it's also a great day because it blessed me with two of my favorite people. My grandmother and Cohen have blessed my life in ways I can't even explain, and I love them both so much.

I'm so grateful for the cherished memories I have of both of them and of the three of us together.


  1. Thinking of you today, Kristin, and on January 16th. Your grandmother was a truly beautiful woman and I know you miss her. I'll continue to pray for Dee. I haven't seen her since you two were in high school, but she was always a shining star! I know how much you love her!