Saturday, October 3, 2009

We Weren't Prepared

No one was.

My grandma passed away suddenly on Thursday afternoon.

After a very normal morning and lunch, she didn't show up for her 2:00 cribbage game so they went looking for her.

She was 87 years old but was still doing so well.

She lived in Toronto for all of my childhood but we still managed to see my grandparents (and great aunt Eileen) at least once or twice a year. We spent summers at their cottage in Ontario, and they usually came out to visit for Christmas. I always looked forward to seeing her. About 10 years ago she had a brain aneurism. It was scary. But she pulled through and after months of rehab, seemed no worse for wear. Shortly after that, she decided to move into a "55+" home in Vancouver. What a huge and scary change that must have been for her. A new city, a new home, new friends... new everything. She was so brave. She seemed to thrive. She had a busier social life than I did. Every day seemed to have one or two planned activities. She volunteered at the church, she made crafts, played cards, walked to the grocery store, went to exercise classes. She was happy.

Three years ago, she moved into another home, that provided more assistance. She no longer needed to make her own meals, and keep track of her 1001 medications. But she still didn't slow down. She still did crafts, played cards, and went on outings. Two weeks ago she made a trip back to Ontario to see my cousin get married. I'm so glad she went. She got to meet two great-grandchildren she had never met, and she saw my cousins and aunt and uncle again for the first time in a few years.

I never spent a bad day with my grandma. She was never in a bad mood. She always had time for me. Some of my favourite memories:

  • The year the power went out for a few days in the winter. We all huddled around the dinning room table for dinner wearing toques, scarves and winter coats. My mom and grandma still managed to pull together great meals for 7 people while cooking on a two burner Coleman stove.
  • Watching her and granddad "swim" at the cottage... it was more of a float. :)
  • I don't actually remember her teaching me to knit, but she must have, because I know how!
  • The way my granddad used to call her "Me", short for Marie. I always thought it was the cutest thing.
  • Her pies.... and one in particular is a little more memorable than the others. She had made a peach pie while at the cottage (a feat in itself if you had seen our cottage) and my aunt Eileen picked it up and promptly dropped it upside down on the floor. Eileen felt horrible, and we never stopped teasing her about it.
  • Her joy every Christmas. It was her favourite holiday. She never wanted to wake up alone on Christmas morning and as I stayed with her every time I came home to visit, I was happy to be the first to say Merry Christmas.
  • The time I went to Toronto by myself to visit. I was in my early 20's and it was the first time I remember having "grown-up" conversations with my grandma and granddad.
  • The way she called you "Ducks". For example, she'd say "Thanks Ducks". I have no idea where that came from or what it meant, but she only seemed to say it when she was particularly happy.

I still can't believe she is gone.


miradukesadie said...

Oh Wendy I'm so sorry for your loss. If it helps at all at least she went happy. I lost my grama several years ago, she's still "living" but she's a shell. Losing a loved one is hard, but watching them suffer it out is horrible. Thanks for sharing your memories she sounded like a great person - I think she may have rubbed off on you a little =)

Let me know if you need anything (house/dog sitter, starbucks, anything)

Stephanie V said...

Wendy, I think that 'Ducks' was a nickname reserved just for special people. Good stories...I'm hearing a few more this morning. Your Mom's looking at photos.

onecollie said...

what wonderful memories Wendy....hold them close to your heart & she'll be with you always...

BCxFour said...

I am so sorry. Keep warm the memories in your heart. My thoughts are with you.


Jackie's mom said...

Our hearts are with you. She clearly was an amazing woman. As are you.

Squishy said...

What a sweet post on your grandmother. Thank you so much for sharing. It warms my heart and I feel like I know her a little bit. She's with you til you meet her again.