Words that come to mind when we think of her are rebellious, young at heart, opinionated, and intelligent, stubborn.
Had she had her way, she would have went to University, would have taught English and writing to school children. She loved writing, she would write letters to everybody she knew. She loved getting letters, she always said she especially liked ours. We have a feeling we were one of her only grandchildren who regularly wrote letters to her, but because we had always been on the move and travelling after graduation, we usually had interesting things to write to her. Sometimes she would "mark" our letters, and show them to us when we would visit her.
Instead of following her dream, she changed her dream. She married and made a happy home for her husband, they had been high school sweethearts, had a marriage to pattern one's own from. She grew her own vegetables, tended flowers, and was active in the community, raising seven strapping children on shoe string budgets.
Today, almost three years to the day since Grandpa crawled down from his deer stand, was admitted to the hospital diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and within weeks passed away, she went to meet him in her heaven.
Her legacy was one of food, cooking, words, gardening. loving your neighbour. She wasn't perfect, of course, but she was a lovely woman.
We saw her about a month ago, our last memory of her will be sitting next to her in the nursing home, during an annual family gathering, holding her hand, listening to her talk about the people around her, and talking aimlessly about bits and pieces from the past. We are sure she was a bit confused with what she saw, our family has become very multi-cultural because of adoptions and foster care, and it had been awhile since she had even recognized some of her own grandchildren, us included.
Each time we told her we had to go, and kissed her cheek, she'd clasp our hands more firmly, indicating she didn't want us to leave. It made us giggle and smile, which in turn made her smile. We lay our head on her frail small shoulder one last time, and told her that we love her, and that we would see her soon. As we walked out we knew we probably wouldn't.
She went into intensive care last week, and family members went to see her but we were told too late to make the trip. We were told she asked for us.
Her passing is no surprise, of course. She has been in so much pain that they sedated her the last couple of days because even morphine wouldn't take her pain away. Her life will be remembered; her passing, the end of a generation that held traditions and values that are disappearing from this country; but the disappearances need not be a scary thing, like death, change is inevitable and part of life, and it doesn't mean that the new traditions and values will be bad, it just means they will be different.
Some, part of a Legacy, that will be carried on.
Rest in peace, Grandma. You shall be missed by many. (P.S. and just in case you are right, give Grandpa a hug and kiss for us)
~ Frank et al
Some of the other stuff we've written over the year about Grandma:
- January 15, 2012 A Visit With Grandma http://just-call-me-frank.blogspot.com/2012/01/visit-with-grandma.html
- June 23, 2012 A Family Picnic Day http://just-call-me-frank.blogspot.com/2012/06/family-picnic-day.html
- October 6, 2012 Just A General How Do You Do http://just-call-me-frank.blogspot.com/2012/10/just-general-how-do-you-do.html