Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Goodbye to a very special lady

Me and my grandma

Last Friday afternoon, the world lost a very special person. My grandma died, peacefully at the age of 98. I know I am so very lucky to have had her in my life for so long, but I will miss her more than I can possibly say.

For 37 years, my grandma has been an inspiration in my life. And although the last few years have been challenging as she struggled with the effects of Alzheimer’s disease, she still showed me that life is a gift and that a smile and a kind word go a long way. She always had a smile on her face, always had compassion and understanding, and always lived life to the fullest.

There’s a story that’s been told so often in my family, that’s it’s almost legend. It’s the story of the night I was born.  I was born at 11:30 at night; and soon thereafter, my father called everyone he knew to announce the news – his brother, my mom’s parents, my mom’s brother, some friends and his mother. The only person  he couldn’t reach was his mother – my grandma. By the time he reached her to tell her of the birth of her first grandchild, it was after 1 a.m. She had been out dancing.

My grandma (with her sister) dancing at my wedding
Flash forward 27 years to my wedding day and there was my grandma at 1 a.m., and one of the last people on the dance floor. She was 88 years old and every time someone
asked her if she wanted to go up to bed, she’d always respond ‘oh no, I don’t want to miss this.’

She was so very proud of all of her grandchildren – always eager to know everything we were doing. One of her most cherished possessions were the photo albums she kept for each of us. We all had our own set of albums and, over the years, she must’ve spent hours upon hours putting our pictures in. There were pictures of us at Halloween, Christmas holidays, graduations, birthdays, summer vacations and of us, just being us. One of my most treasured memories as a child is going to grandma’s house, sitting on the floor in the tartan room and pouring over my photo albums. I wonder if part of my love of doing scrapbooks today is because of how much fun I had looking through those albums.

Another treasured memory  of mine is Christmas lunch. From the time I can remember until my late 20s, every Christmas morning was rushed through so that we could get to grandma’s house in time for (more presents and) lunch. And lunch was always the same every year – scrambled eggs, toast and cocktail wieners. And yes, my sisters, cousins and I used to compete to get the most mini hot dogs.

I’m so very lucky, because I’m one of the fortunate few who got to know my grandmother as I matured into an adult – and she got to know me as I grew from a child to an adult and into a mother of my own. In my 20s, I took several solo trips to Montreal to stay with her (and yes, I stayed in the tartan room, and yes, I spent time looking through my photo albums). We visited, we talked and we learned about each other.

Grandma holding Alexandra
It’s difficult to put into words what made my grandma so special to me – I could write thousands of words recounting memories and special moments and I still wouldn’t be able to get the right words out. Simply put, she was a very special and wonderful lady.

And so, when my daughter was born – her first great-granddaughter – we gave her the middle name Margaret in honour of my grandma. Now, at five years old, my little girl lives up to her namesake. She’s always smiling, she lives every day to the fullest and she loves to dance. Her great-grandmother would be very proud.

I’m so blessed that I got to spend 37 wonderful years with you grandma and that my children even got to know you, and you them. Goodbye Grandma. I’ll miss you more than I can possibly say.

Summer 2012

Grandma on her 90th birthday


Vone said...

Very well said. You are very lucky to have such a special person in your life.

Krista said...

What an amazingly touching tribute Deb. She was an amazing woman. Big hugs to you and rest of your family.

Carole said...

Fantastic tribute, Deb! Thank you so much! Oh those mini hot dogs!

Anonymous said...

what a wonderful tribute of love... It brought tears to my eyes... all my love

Dad said...

sorry, I should have signed the last comment love Dad

Nancy Downard said...

While I did not know your grandmother very well, I did meet her and it was very apparent to me that she was a very special person. My heart and my love are with all of you as you go through this very challenging journey.