I Remember Her

posted in: Grandmother, Life, Those were the days 98 comments


When I think about her, I feel like I’m watching a silent movie. One that is slightly blurred and jumpy.

This movie though, is more like a trailer. Scenes, jumping from one to another.

I can see her hands.

Hands, rubbing white rice powder together, adding a little water, making a paste. She then slathers it on her face, leaving a thin film of whiteness on her soft skin.

She would then put some on my face, telling me that my skin will be soft and smooth, just like hers.

I remember her brisk pace, as she walks the short distance to her hairdresser. My little sister and I trailing after her, chit chatting away.

I can see her face clearly.

Her hair, grey and always in neat curls, framing her kind face.

I remember her in the kitchen, moving with grace and confidence and knowledge. No measuring, just instinctive.

I loved dinners at my grandmother’s house.

I remember the way her room looked and smelled. Always neat, always clean, everything in its place.

I like to think I got that from her.

But I don’t remember her voice. I try hard, listening to my past.

I cannot remember her voice.

But I remember her loving heart. Her cooking. Her warm smile. Her soft hands. Her wisdom.

My memories of my grandmother, it’s a silent movie.

Quote about grandmothers


My grandmother passed away 10 years ago in July. I miss her every day.

Alison Lee is a former PR and marketing professional turned work-at-home mother. After a 10-year career in various PR agencies, and of the world’s biggest sports brands, Alison traded in product launches and world travel, for sippy cups, diapers, and breastfeeding. Alison's writing has been featured on Mamalode, On Parenting at The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Everyday Family, Scary Mommy, and DrGreene.com. She is one of 35 essayists in the anthology, My Other Ex: Women’s True Stories of Leaving and Losing Friends. In 2012, she founded Little Love Media, a social media consultancy specializing in blog book tours, and because she doesn’t sleep, is an editor at BonBon Break, an online magazine. Alison lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with her husband and four children (two boys and boy/ girl twins).

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  • November 7, 2012 Kim

    Alison, I have tears in my eyes. This is such a beautiful piece. Those memories cooking and kitchens and hands; I have those memories with my grandmothers, too.
    Kim recently wrote…Lessons Learned From Turtle PieMy Profile

    • November 7, 2012 Alison

      They are special, grandmothers, aren’t they?

  • November 7, 2012 Maureen

    Oh Alison this post brought tears to my eyes! Makes me miss my own grandmas too.
    We are so blessed to have grandmothers and their memories are so precious isn’t? She must be smiling down from heaven looking so very proud of you, my friend.

    • November 7, 2012 Alison

      She was the only grandparent I knew, growing up. So yes, she holds a special place.

  • November 7, 2012 JanBierens

    I wish you strength…
    Although your post seems sad when you read it, it is filled with good memories, very detailed. And that is the way it should be. Loosing a loved one is never easy but in time it will find a place in your heart, like in your case.
    In the end the good memories remain and the way you remember a person that passed away, no matter how long ago that was. And that’s the way it is – and should be.
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    • November 7, 2012 Alison

      Yes, just as it should be. Thank you Jans.

  • November 7, 2012 vanita

    girl you are blessed to have so many good memories and i know your grandma must be really proud of you. coming from a family of 33 grandkids on my mom’s side and 17 on my dad’s side, my grandparents were always pretty busy. how do you find the time to leave a lasting impression on so many kids? i have one good memory of my paternal grandfather. I was 3. He and my grandmother split up and he came to stay with us for a while. I was moved to my parent’s bedroom and he got mine (which was big enough for 4 kids to share). I remember sitting with him in that room, helping him label the bags of spices he imported from his home country to sell to the local shops. i got a quarter everyday i helped. I was 3. it was 1979. a quarter was lots of money. 😀 hugs to you girlfriend.
    vanita recently wrote…How to Un-Mess PinterestMy Profile

    • November 7, 2012 Alison

      What a good grandfather!
      (and oh my, large family!)

  • November 7, 2012 Barbara

    That quote is so perfect. I only met one grandmother and she passed when I was only 3. From looking at pictures and hearing stories she will forever be a part of me.
    Barbara recently wrote…A day at the beach…My Profile

    • November 7, 2012 Alison

      They always are. Which is the beauty of it all.

  • November 7, 2012 Kim

    Thank you for sharing your lovely memories of your grandmother. It brought tears to my eyes, as it reminded me of the many summer weeks my siblings and I got to spend with our grandparents. Isn’t it funny how those moments stick out? I am so grateful not only for the time I got to spend with my Gram, but also for all that she taught me and all the wonderful memories I keep in my heart.
    Kim recently wrote…The B.E.A.G.L.E. Theory of LifeMy Profile

    • November 7, 2012 Alison

      You know, grandparents are special people. Which is why I’m so glad my in laws are there for my boys. Thank you for reading, Kim.

  • November 7, 2012 Jacki

    This is a beautiful post, thank you for sharing your memories of your grandmother.

    • November 7, 2012 Alison

      Thank you for reading, Jacki!

  • November 7, 2012 tori nelson

    Beautiful, BEAUTIFUL post for your grandmother. I’ve struggled with losing little details of people in my life who have passed away. I almost feel a little guilty when I can’t remember every little thing. Your post shows that you remember the real things, the big things, the things that made you love her like you do!
    tori nelson recently wrote…Picky PicassoMy Profile

    • November 8, 2012 Alison

      Thank you, Tori. I just hate that I can’t remember her voice, try as I might.

  • November 7, 2012 tracy

    Oh hon. I miss my grandma so much. So so much. I love you.
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    • November 8, 2012 Alison

      Love you too. xoxo

  • November 7, 2012 Galit Breen

    This is stunning, sweet friend!

    {As are you and your heart!}

    Love you!


    • November 8, 2012 Alison

      Thank you, my amazing friend. xo

  • November 7, 2012 thedoseofreality

    Such a beautiful, touching post. I totally cried. Your image is simply perfect. Thank you for sharing these memories. 🙂
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    • November 8, 2012 Alison

      Thank you for reading. 🙂

  • November 7, 2012 Blond Duck

    I’m so sorry for your loss.
    Blond Duck recently wrote…The August TreeMy Profile

  • November 7, 2012 Olga

    Grandmothers are precious. I adored mine, we were very close. Thank you for sharing this!
    Olga recently wrote…Let It Be; On Your BedMy Profile

    • November 8, 2012 Alison

      They are precious. Thank you.

  • November 7, 2012 julie gardner

    A beautiful tribute, Alison.

    Yours is a family of strong, lovely women –

    And now you’re growing strong, loving men.

    What could be better than that?
    julie gardner recently wrote…How to Rock a Writer’s ConferenceMy Profile

    • November 8, 2012 Alison

      I hope I’ll be able to do her proud.

  • November 7, 2012 Kristie

    Hello. Visiting from SITS. Your post is beautiful!! It makes me wish I had more memories of my grandmothers. I can only hope my little nephew will someday hold such precious memories of his grandmas. Watching my mom become a grandma has me seeing her in a new light and I enjoy it so much.
    Kristie recently wrote…Cupcake BirgittaMy Profile

    • November 8, 2012 Alison

      Thank you for dropping by! Yes, it is truly beautiful to see our moms become grandmothers.

  • November 8, 2012 Janice

    I love how you’ve captured your grandma and your relationship in this post. Grandmas are awesome. My kids are very close to my mom… but at their age, I think they take her for granted. I always hope and pray thatmy mom will be here long enough in order for my children to truly cherish her.

    Like me…I grew up with my grandma, but I don’t remember how she was in those years. Now, she lives with my mom. It’s this time that I have my own family that I can appreciate her. My kids don’t know how lucky they are to be able to see their great-grandparents so often!

    And the thing is, my kids don’t just see their grandparents and great-grandparents, they get to PLAY with them. They might be old, but they are still well enough to run after the kids. They are so lucky, aren’t they?
    Janice recently wrote…2012 November PAD Challenge: Day 6 – “Left. Right.”My Profile

    • November 8, 2012 Alison

      Oh they are absolutely so lucky!! I wish my grandmother could have met my boys.

  • November 8, 2012 sarah

    What a lovely tribute! My g-ma passed away 10 years ago this coming July. She was everything to me. I was just as close to her as my own mother…in some ways more so. I miss her evry day too nd think of her often. I keep a picture of her on the windowsill in my kitchen. She smiles at me while I’m cooking 🙂 sounds like yours was equally special to you. Aren’t we lucky to have had them?

    • November 8, 2012 Alison

      I love the image of you in the kitchen, and your grandmother smiling on. 🙂
      Yes, we are lucky to have had them. I’m lucky I had her for 26 years.

  • November 8, 2012 Susi

    Alison, the three year anniversary of my grandma’s death is coming up in a few days and I’ve been thinking of her so, so much. I miss her every day…
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    • November 8, 2012 Alison

      I’m so sorry for your loss, Susi.

  • November 8, 2012 The Dose of Reality

    What a beautiful tribute to your grandmother. It made me miss my grandmother, too. You just captured the essence of your beautiful memories! 🙂 –Lisa
    The Dose of Reality recently wrote…Operation Christmas ChildMy Profile

    • November 8, 2012 Alison

      Thank you Lisa!

  • November 8, 2012 Stasha

    I sometimes dream about my mom and can hear her voice in my dream. But when I try to think of it I cannot recall it at all…. Beautifully written my friend.
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    • November 8, 2012 Alison

      Oh my friend. I don’t know how hard that must be. Hugs.

  • November 8, 2012 molly

    So sweet. I have lost both my grandmas now. It’s sad when I think about not having them anymore as a support to me in my life.
    molly recently wrote…Why I don’t watch the NewsMy Profile

    • November 8, 2012 Alison

      She was really the only grandparent I knew, so it is sad. Sigh.

  • November 8, 2012 Kiran

    So sweet, Alison. I remember both of my grandmothers’ voices but for the life of me, I am having trouble remembering my grandfathers’. I just realized that now and it makes me sad…

    It’s true. It’s just for a little while, and even that is if we are blessed. But what a gift it is to have them even for a short while.

    Kiran recently wrote…SongbirdMy Profile

    • November 8, 2012 Alison

      I had 26 years, though for the last 10 of her life, she was…. not herself. But I’m glad I have the memories. I just wish I can remember her voice.

  • November 8, 2012 Katie E

    How beautiful, Alison. I was very close to my grandmother too, and I still miss her. I wear a ring of hers on my finger that I put on the day she died and have worn ever since.
    Katie E recently wrote…Books & Jumping #iPPPMy Profile

    • November 8, 2012 Alison

      Oh Katie, that’s beautiful.

  • November 8, 2012 Tracie

    This made me cry.

    I’m sorry for your loss. Even all these years later.
    Tracie recently wrote…Fall Weekends With MelissaMy Profile

    • November 8, 2012 Alison

      Oh thank you, Tracie.

  • November 8, 2012 JDaniel4's Mom

    You have brought back memories of my grandmothers with this wonderful post.
    JDaniel4’s Mom recently wrote…Operation Christmas Child #OCCGivingMy Profile

  • November 8, 2012 Natalie

    What wonderful memories you have of your grandmother…you will treasure them forever!
    Natalie recently wrote…What Would You Do?My Profile

  • November 8, 2012 AnnMarie

    What a lovely picture you paint of your grandma! It makes me want to know her. I lost my Nana over 20 years ago and my Gram four years ago and I miss them so much.
    AnnMarie recently wrote…Old WoundsMy Profile

    • November 8, 2012 Alison

      You would have loved her, my Granny. So sorry for your losses.

  • November 8, 2012 Leslie

    Such a moving post. This year marks the tenth anniversary of my grandmother and grandfather’s death as well. It’s amazing what you remember…moments in time mostly. But they’re all deeply etched in your heart.
    Leslie recently wrote…{Recipes} Homemade Caramel SauceMy Profile

    • November 8, 2012 Alison

      I am sorry for your loss, Leslie.

  • November 8, 2012 Sue

    I was just thinking yesterday…trying to imagine myself as a grandmother to my children’s children…and I hope that I leave them with the quality of memories that yours did with you.

    • November 8, 2012 Alison

      You will be awesome.
      But thinking about grandchildren already? 🙂

  • November 8, 2012 Amanda

    She sounds like a wonderful woman and I’ll bet a lot of your youness came from her!
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    • November 8, 2012 Alison

      That’s a nice thought. 🙂

  • November 8, 2012 Asianmommy

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I’m glad you have these lovely memories to cherish.
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    • November 8, 2012 Alison

      Thank you, I’m grateful too.

  • November 8, 2012 Alexa

    Such a beautiful tribute to her. Made me think about my grandmother and the things I miss about her. Grandmas are so special!!!

    • November 8, 2012 Alison

      They truly are special.

  • November 8, 2012 Runnermom-jen

    Aw, Alison, you made me cry. Grandmothers are so very special!! I’m sorry you lost yours.
    Runnermom-jen recently wrote…To Be Thankful…My Profile

    • November 8, 2012 Alison

      Sorry I made you cry 🙂

  • November 8, 2012 Rach (DonutsMama)

    This was so sweet. Grandmothers are something special, aren’t they? I miss mine so much too.
    Rach (DonutsMama) recently wrote…I Should’ve KnownMy Profile

    • November 8, 2012 Alison

      I’m just glad I did have her in my life. I’m sorry you lost yours too. 🙁

  • November 8, 2012 Nikky44

    I miss my grandma so much 🙁

  • November 8, 2012 Kerstin

    Beautifully written, full of grace and love, just like your grandmother was…
    I have memories like that of my grandfather, who passed away 20 years ago – I still miss him lots.

    • November 8, 2012 Alison

      I’m sorry for your loss, Kerstin.

  • November 8, 2012 Robbie

    So sorry for your loss. I was overjoyed that one of my grandmothers was able to meet 2 of my kids before she died. Sad she didn’t meet my youngest.
    Robbie recently wrote…Strange Things are AfootMy Profile

    • November 8, 2012 Alison

      Thank you Robbie, I’m glad your grandmother met two of your children.

  • November 8, 2012 Elaine A.

    Oh you made me cry! I still miss my “Granny” a lot too. She was such a beautiful soul.

    Beautiful memories Alison. Grandparents really are SO special.
    Elaine A. recently wrote…A "Cher Bebe" Kinda PartyMy Profile

    • November 8, 2012 Alison

      I’m sorry I made you cry, Elaine. I’m sorry for your loss. Grandparents truly are special.

  • November 8, 2012 Melissa

    I lost my grandmother 8 years ago and it always surprises me the things that I remember about her. Like how she would take me to the craft store and let me pick out lace and beads and anything else I liked even though she didn’t have a crafty bone in her body. I remember her dumplings, a recipe that she knew from her heart and no matter how hard I try to replicate them, I just can’t get it quite right.

    Stopping by from SITS
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    • November 8, 2012 Alison

      Sounds like your grandmother was just lovely. So sorry for your loss.
      Thank you for stopping by.

  • November 8, 2012 Lady Jennie

    Oh, this tugs my heart!

    I can almost picture the silent movie from your words.
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    • November 9, 2012 Alison

      I wish it wasn’t silent. I desperately wish I could remember her voice.

  • November 9, 2012 Kimberly

    My grandma was the only constant in my childhood. I miss her terribly. Such a lovely post. xoxo
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    • November 9, 2012 Alison

      Exactly. She was the only constant. Most of my childhood memories evolve around her and her home. I’m sorry for your loss too, my friend. xo

  • November 9, 2012 Jessica

    I feel the same way about my aunt who passed away about 6 years ago. I miss her every day.
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    • November 9, 2012 Alison

      I’m sorry for your loss, Jess.

  • Oh Alison… this brings tears to my eyes. I remember mine very well, she was such strong willed woman, such force of character.
    Grandmothers… they are something special aren’t they? I just hope that one day I will be just as awesome a grandmother to my girl’s kids as mine was to me.
    Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes recently wrote…So I backed into my husband’s car yesterday…My Profile

    • November 9, 2012 Alison

      My kids are so lucky they have a fabulous grandmother in my mother-in-law. I hope they will grow up knowing and loving her as much as I did mine.

      (I cannot imagine myself as a grandmother!)

  • November 9, 2012 Amanda Jillian

    Awww <3
    Amanda Jillian recently wrote…Faerie dust, mermaid tears, and Halloween magicMy Profile

  • November 9, 2012 Kimberly

    Grandparents have that special place in our heart, one that will never be replaced or forgotten.

    Beautifully written.
    Kimberly recently wrote…Essence of Now: All Jumbled UpMy Profile

    • November 9, 2012 Alison

      Thank you my friend. xo

  • November 9, 2012 Kim at Mama Mzungu

    What a lovely remembrance of your grandmother. I felt like I had a real sense of her through your writing. Beautiful.
    Kim at Mama Mzungu recently wrote…Watching Obama Win in Kenya – Not What You ThinkMy Profile

    • November 9, 2012 Alison

      Thank you Kim!

  • November 10, 2012 Brittany

    Oh my heart. Yes, our grandparents so often only get to hold us while we are small people and then we remember them forever and ever. I have only one natural grandparent left and I must get out to the west coast to get another hug from her. I also have an adopted grandfather (literally, we adopted him) and he is 96. I feel blessed that he has met all of my children and hope that they will all see him again next spring. Every moment with this older generation is absolutely precious!

    Thank you for this post. You have touched my heart and reminded me to get a video of my grandparents so I can always remember those beautiful voices.
    Brittany recently wrote…Ladies, Yours are No Longer Called NipplesMy Profile

    • November 11, 2012 Alison

      Yes, you need to get those videos!!

  • November 12, 2012 Robin

    What a lovely tribute to her. Losing people’s voices is so hard.

    • November 12, 2012 Alison

      It is. It pains me. Sigh.

  • November 12, 2012 Kristin

    Alison, I’m just getting caught up on some blog reading, so forgive me for not reading this on the same day I wrote about my grandmother last week. I love this so much. You so perfectly described the way I remember my grandmother – it’s JUST like a silent movie. I can’t remember her voice, either. Which is why it was so surreal to hear it again last year when my mom dug up those old cassette tapes.

    This is just such a cool post.
    Kristin recently wrote…Page 79My Profile

    • November 12, 2012 Alison

      I wish we had recordings of my grandmother. I remember video was taken at her 70th birthday but all on VHS and god knows who has them, if at all. Sigh.

      Thank you.

  • November 13, 2012 Tonya

    What a beautiful tribute. I miss my grandparents too even though I didn’t have any of them for very long.
    Tonya recently wrote…Dear FamilyMy Profile

    • November 13, 2012 Alison

      Thank you, my friend.

  • November 14, 2012 Jessica

    This is beautiful, Alison. I’m sorry for your loss. I know, however, that your grandmother is looking down on you smiling at the woman you’re becoming and have become. xo.
    Jessica recently wrote…Why I quit my “mommy” blogMy Profile

    • November 14, 2012 Alison

      Thank you very much, Jessica.

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