I’ve never been particularly close with my mom’s mom. Family dynamics, plus about a kajillion grandkids, allowed only a basic relationship — neither bad nor extraordinary. I wish I’d had a grandma like my mom is to my niece (spoiled rotten!) but it wasn’t in the cards and I’m fine with that.
That said, Marnie was a little dynamo. She weighed all of 98 lbs soaking wet (why, oh, why didn’t I get her genes?!) and had AAA wide shoes — that’s two sized narrower than an A! She dressed to the nines at all times, but especially if a man was coming for a visit. Marnie had a thing about looking nice for men — not for romantic reasons, it was just in her nature.
Marnie was all sass. While she deferred to men in nearly all things, they respected her and never messed with her. She was one of those ‘southern ladies’ who allowed guys to think they were in charge but she really pulled all the strings. And man, did that woman know how to flirt! She taught more than one of her many granddaughters how to flirt shamelessly and successfully.
A few years ago, Marnie was diagnosed with heart problems. Normally, 86-year-olds aren’t even considered for open heart surgery but the doctor — a man — was dazzled by her “spark” and agreed to do it. While she made it through the operation, she didn’t come out of the anesthesia for about a week. She never fully recovered and had to be moved from her house to a small ‘apartment’ in a retirement community.
She did well there but recently went downhill very quickly. She was taken to the hospital for uncontrollable diarrhea (not pleasant, under any circumstance, but particularly devastating for my fashion conscious Marnie) and a sore on her foot that wouldn’t heal. The sore turned to dry gangrene and she was sent to hospice to die. Thankfully, for her family, her departure came relatively quickly — just about a week after entering hospice.
My beautiful and spunky grandmother, Ruth ‘Marnie’ Hayes, passed away today around 2 p.m. at the age of 89. It comforts me to think she’s being greeted by Don, her husband of 60 years, and her only two sons, Dan and Phil, who both died before reaching 40.
These two photos were taken just three years apart — ’03 to ’06 — and show how quickly she went from an ‘old gal’ to a ‘little old lady’. I’ll miss her.