My yiayia (grandma), Eugenia, passed away at roughtly 12:00AM EST. She was nearly 89 and a half years old. She had a long and adventurous life, as she came here in the early 80s to help my mom and dad raise us. During her time here, she even got to visit Las Vegas with my aunt Sophie and Uncle Markos. My mom and dad haven’t even been to Las Vegas!!
This is a picture of my yiayia from 2002, when Michelle and I took our 2nd trip to Greece together that summer. Yiayia was already starting to be hit with harder symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease, but she was still lucid most of the time, but her legs didn’t hold her up as good as they used to.
Earlier this year, my mom and dad got to see my yiayia when they went to Greece for my uncle John Filias’ funeral. I’m glad my mom was able to see her mom and say goodbye to her. My mom is both happy and sad that her mother has passed. I’m also happy for my aunt Koko, in Greece, as she was taking care of my yiayia for many years and as my yiayia’s health kept slipping, it became exponentially more difficult to care for her.
I’ll never forget things about my yiayia:
- She watched Dallas and Falcon Crest with us in the 80s.
- She thought you’d get drunk if you drank too much Pepsi.
- She could communicate with my friends enough to tell them we were in the bathroom if we, indeed, were, when they came to the door.
- She called strawberries, “strawbell”.
- She called peanut butter and jelly, “pina jello”.
- She didn’t like when I called her grandma, and would say, “Oxi (no), yiayia!”
As a toddler, she potty-trained me. I don’t remember this, directly, but it’s been told to me and I hold this very dear to my heart. She also bought me a gold cross and necklace with my aunt when I went to Greece, alone, in the summer of 1988. I still have this cross and necklace. I’ll never get rid of it.
This is one of my favorite pictures of my yiayia. Even in her declining health, she was always a damn good time and had an excellent sense of humor. Here, she raised her glass of her brother’s wine, very dry, and enjoyed the company of Michelle and I.
I’ll miss my yiayia!