I am grateful for my Grandmother, who passed away today.
I have a hard time finding words to express how I feel about her passing.
She was ready to go. She was in hospice. She had a great life, and she knew it. She was surrounded by family at the moment of her death, as she was for her whole life.
She had cancer. She was 90. It wasn’t getting easier. I am grateful she didn’t suffer, at least not much. I am grateful she had full use of her mind until the end. A few decades ago she watched and cared for her own mother, who suffered from Alzheimer’s. Grandma feared suffering that same fate. She didn’t have to, and I am grateful for that.
I am grateful I was able to visit in January, when she’d checked in to hospice.
I am grateful for my family, there’s a crowd of Lathrops and in-laws in Calgary and they’ve all been with her, and they all get along, and they all have been so supportive of her. My grandmother was a lucky woman, that way.
I am grateful my brother was here in Victoria and with me when I got the call from my dad with the news. When cuss like this goes down, the importance of family is really apparent. He was here, and we had fun all day yesterday and were having a great visit all morning.
I am grateful my kids are old enough to know her, and to have memories of her.
Even if they hadn’t known her personally, her influence would not have been lost on them. Not at all. She was a great mother. She was candid about what that was like, having 4 kids, starting when she was 18. The war was on and it wasn’t easy. It was hard, and a different time, and she loved her kids and loved them well. and then one of them became my dad, and it was hard for him too, I bet. He and my mom loved me and my brother and they loved us well. And now I have kids, and sometimes it’s hard, and Julie and I love them, too, and we do our best to love them well, and when I think about how that’s done, I think about how my grandmother did it. There are other role models I have too, but not many.
I’m grateful I could reminisce with my brother about our memories of grandma today. Cookouts in their backyard, baskets lined with paper towel with potato chips, the way she’d cut onions for hot dogs, and uncles balancing long sticks or garden rakes on their fingers for us. We remembered grandma and grandad’s basement, where we’d wind up on Sunday nights, watching Disney after dinner while the grownups hooted and hollered upstairs. We remembered staying there when our folks were away – sleeping on futons in the basement, in what was grandma’s house then, but is my brother’s house now. I remember walking up there after class when I was in high school, for a visit, and sometimes dinner with them, too.
I’m ambivalent. I’m grateful she didn’t have to wait long to die, because she was ready and said so. But I’m not grateful she’s gone. This morning it was a world with my grandma in it. Now it’s not, and the truth is, I’ll miss her, and it’s sad.