Tuesday, 13 July 2010

A great lady

This is one of my favorite photographs.

It’s my grandmother with her three youngest children: my mother and twin uncles. My mom was two years old at the time. She remembers my grandmother leaving for the hospital to have ‘the baby’. My grandmother returned home the next day but without a child. However, six weeks later, grandma left the house and came back with two babies. My mother was quite put out.

My grandmother passed away on Sunday. Although her health has been in severe decline for the past few months, it was still rather sudden. I was at Heathrow early Sunday morning when I heard the voicemail from my sister telling me that grandma was not waking up. I was on a tram in Rome later that day when I was informed of her passing.

My grandmother was a cool lady. She lived through the Depression, raised seven children and endured a husband, two sons and a handful of grandkids and great grandkids going off to war. She loved to dance and travel. She visited Greece with my parents shortly after they married and took a small stone from the Acropolis as a souvenir. (By the way, you’ll get shot if you try that today.) She cooked like nobody’s business and made the best grilled cheese sandwiches in the world. She taught me how to make her famed chocolate peanut butter balls too. She was a prolific knitter and seamstress until arthritis slowed her down. She made my baby quilt which I still have today, tucked away in a trunk for safekeeping.

Luckily I got to see and talk to my grandmother a couple of time recently via Skype. She had no idea what was going on and at first thought I was on television until my mom and sister explained to her how Skype worked. Then she was amazed that it didn’t cost us anything. To be fair, that still amazes me too.

Her funeral is tomorrow. I wanted to fly out for it, but my mother and sister convinced me otherwise. Being so far away is shitastic, but the wonder that is Skype provides some consolation.

Late Sunday night I checked my Google Reader and read about XC2’s wonderful news. It was rather comforting to learn that the same day my grandmother passed away, two little boys were born to another cool lady in the adjacent city. I won’t be so gauche as to call it the circle of life, but I will admit that The Lion King is my favorite Disney movie. :)

To my grandmother,

Thank you for being you—loving, comforting, funny, industrious and sometimes amazingly outspoken. I love the fact you used to talk back to the characters in ‘your stories’ or always knew what pages ‘the best parts’ were on in your romance novels. I am still in awe of the love you and grandpa had for each other, though admittedly I could have done without knowing some of the more intimate details of your relationship.

Thank you for always being proud of me even though I’m still in school, unemployed and didn’t spit out a great grandkid for you like the rest of my cousins. But really, once the number of rugrats went into double digits, I didn’t think you’d mind if I didn’t contribute to the stockpile.

I’m really sorry I have been away for so long and haven’t been around much to see you. I hope the sporadic postcards over the years were some consolation.

You gave me some of my best memories, Grandma, and I will always cherish them.

I love you so very much. I miss you terribly, but I am glad you are finally at peace.

With much love, hugs and chocolate peanut butter balls,
Your youngest grandchild, X.


Jamoosh said...

So good that you remember your Grandmother in a positive light. Mourning is tough, especially when it is someone you never want to say goodbye to.

The Merry said...

It's sad that you can't make it to the funeral, but I love Skype at times like this. And it's wonderful that you have such terrific memories of a strong and loving lady.

Jess said...

Sorry for your loss, but it sounds like she led a rich and rewarding life!

Deb said...

Oh, Xenia, I'm so, so sorry. Your grandma sounds like she was an amazing woman. Make some of her chocolate peanut butter balls, wrap up in that baby quilt and know that she adored you.

(Mr. Moose and I just might've found our own special stones at the Circus Maximus and at Pompeii, so your Acropolis story hit home for me. Your grandma was, indeed, cool.)

Hang in there, X.

SteveQ said...

Sorry for your loss - and thanks for the sweet memories.

When my mother came home with twins, my brother Don is reported as saying, "Not so much. Only two." I think the dog had just had a litter.

RBR said...

I am so sorry for your loss. This was a beautiful tribute to what sounds like an amazing woman.

I am certain she felt as lucky to have you in her life as you did to have her in yours. Take care of yourself.

Pam said...

I am so, so sorry for your loss. This post was a wonderful tribute to your grandmother. Made me think about mine (we lost her in '04) and even teared up a bit.

Viper said...

A fitting tribute to what sounds like an amazing woman. Please accept my sympathies.

Scarlett Elliewood said...

I'm very sorry about your grandmother and I know it's hard being far away from home and not being able to make the funeral.

carpeviam said...

I'm so sorry. My condolences to you and your family.

I too believe in life for death. My goddaughter was born near the time that my own grandmother passed away.

Lily on the Road said...

Oh my dear friend, I am so very sorry to read about the loss of your lovely grandmother. I am in tears.

Having read the tribute you so eloquently wrote to and about her just shows the love she gave unconditionally to you and the rest of your family.

Please know that I am thinking of you all and that you are in my prayers C.

My most sincere sympathy to you and your family,

much love L.

Anonymous said...

My condolences to you and your family. I'm sure that your grandmother was very proud of you.

The Running Knitter said...

Sorry to hear about your grandma. I'm thinking of you and your family and keeping you all in my prayers.

Tyger Lily said...

I am so sorry for your loss! You obviously had a wonderful relationship with her and have those wonderful memories to keep with you forever. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family.

Jamie said...

I'm sorry for your loss. Your grandmother sounds like one cool lady and you have some wonderful memories. I know it's difficult being away from home during this time. I was out of state when I lost my mom and can only imagine what it is like to be across the pond.

Theresa said...

(((Xenia))) So sorry about your grandmother. She sounds like an amazing lady who loved you very much!

joyRuN said...

My sincere condolences, X. I'm so very sorry for your loss - your grandmother sounded like an awesome woman.

Sheryl said...

*hugs* I'm so sorry for your loss, Xenia. Sounds like your grandmother was a truly amazing woman. Thanks for sharing your memories, and I hope you and your family are doing well.