Remembering Grandma’s special love on her birthday

By Steve Cichon

It’s hard to put into words, that warm, strong, unquestioned grandmotherly heart.

And working in a high school, with plenty of boys who clearly don’t have anything close to a Grandma Coyle in their lives, I love and appreciate all that she was— and continues to be for me, my brother and sister, my mom and her brothers and sisters, and just our whole family.

From the time I was born, Grandma called me “her little sugar booger,” but later I found out she stopped when she thought it might embarrass me (like in front of a girlfriend.) Just writing this makes me tear up.

She wasn’t some perfect saintly woman, but that makes what she gave so much more special.

She swore, drank beer, smoked Parliaments, and she’d crack ya if you needed it. But she also loved all of us fully, completely, and deeply every moment. Just as important as the love, she constantly let us know how much she loved us.

She’s been gone a long time, but the love she built in my heart lasts and grows as her example shows me how to love the people in my life without compromise.

Even if someone doesn’t deserve it or if someone needs a crack or if someone isn’t wearing an undershirt (the crime of which I was most often guilty in Grandma’s court) love never wavers.

Happy birthday in heaven, Grandma. (And I am wearing an undershirt.)

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Steve Cichon

Steve Cichon writes about Buffalo’s pop culture history. His stories of Buffalo's past have appeared more than 1600 times in The Buffalo News. He's a proud Buffalonian helping the world experience the city he loves. Since the earliest days of the internet, Cichon's been creating content celebrating the people, places, and ideas that make Buffalo unique and special. The 25-year veteran of Buffalo radio and television has written five books and curates The Buffalo Stories Archives-- hundreds of thousands of books, images, and audio/visual media which tell the stories of who we are in Western New York.