Today marks the 1 year anniversary of my grandmother's passing. I still miss her quite a bit - her laugh, smile and amazing ability to love. She had such a wonderful sense of humor. I thought I would share the note I wrote last year following her death. It includes what I read at her funeral.
As many of you already know, my grandmother (also known as Mom-Mom) passed away last week on April 11th, at the age of 95. I know that when most people hear that she was that old, they are like wow, and I know that my common response is that well, of course we kinda expected it might happen soon, but in reality, the world has lost a very special person and that is my response because I don't know what else to say. My grandmother was an amazing woman. I have so many memories of her that it is hard to organize them all. I'm having a hard time thinking that I will never drive the road to visit her again, or see her or talk to her. She was my last living grandparent.
I have some regrets in regard to the last few months of her life as well. I last saw her on Christmas, and she became very ill in March...I made the decision not to go see her because I didn't want to see her sick and dying like I had my other grandmother, my grandfather, and my dad. It has been very hard to get over those last visions and I didn't want that to be the way I remembered her. She got somewhat better after that incident in March, and I talked to her on her birthday. I promised I would come and see her as soon as I could, and she told me I better hurry. I never talked to her again. I have many times told myself that we need to make sure the people in our lives know that we love them and the impact they have made on us. I seem to forget that and get caught in my life too much sometimes...you would think I would learn after losing two people in my life who I regret not telling how important they were to me. I don't regret not seeing her while she was sick because my last memory of her is a happy one where she was her typical self. But I do regret not calling her more and going to see her when she was in-between her last episodes of illness. I can't tell you enough how important it is to tell those you love and care about how much they mean to you and what it is they've done for you while they are here. Not that they may not already know, but it is important that you are sure they do know. Put aside your life for a minute and take care of the person who has given you that love for so long.
I want to write more about the person she was and what I will miss, but that will take forever. Instead, I will include what I wrote and read at her funeral. I will miss her so much and wish I could hear her laughter one more time...
My Mom-Mom: March 10th, 1913 - April 11th, 2008
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking the last few days about what I could share about my mom-mom. It is hard to put 26 years worth of experiences into a few short minutes, so I’ve decided that the best thing to do is to focus on a few of my best memories and the personality traits that I will never forget. Some of my favorite memories of my mom-mom from early on are the weekends I would get to spend with her and my pop-pop by myself. I loved the fun things they would do with me. I remember walking the paths behind the manor collecting pine cones with them and always looking for the perfect one. I always looked forward to sleeping on the fun bed in the guest room. I remember extravagant Easter egg hunts, where I would race around with my sister looking for the eggs, and they would always be hidden in the perfect places. I remember her tea sets and my desire to have one, and her works of art. My mom-mom is also the one who taught me how to work a slinky and a jumping bean. I remember waking up early when we would be at the beach, and going upstairs to sneak into her bedroom so we could snuggle and talk. I remember playing card games with my mom-mom and her competiveness. She taught me many games and is probably the only one I knew who could play Kings In the Corners. I've missed playing games with her the past few years. My sister was right in that she was always trying to set us up with men she would meet, regardless of whether we were with someone at the time, but I will say that even though it was important that my family approved of my boyfriend, it was my mom-mom who had the final say. If she didn’t like him, I knew there was a problem. Over the years as I became more involved in skating, I began to see my mom-mom less. She always let me know she supported me though, through letters and phone calls. One thing that will always stand out to me was when she flew out to Vancouver to see me and my partner compete. At 86, this was quite a feat, and she did it anyway. I was extremely thankful.
Something that always amazed me about my mom-mom is that she always seemed so much younger then she was. I find it hard to believe that for pretty much my whole life she was in her 70s and above. To me, she seemed to have endless energy and joy, and for a long time, she would be darned if something kept her from doing what she wanted to do. Maybe it was her unforgettable smile or her absolutely joyous laugh that you could recognize no matter where you were. I will never be able to forget the smile on her face when she saw me walking towards her last Christmas, or her laughing as she argued with B about whether penguins had fir or feathers. She was even able to laugh at the many times I would accidentally bump her into things when pushing her in her wheelchair. Even as her body aged, my mom-moms mind and heart were still young. She was tenacious and determined, and I believe I have that same determination in me. Mom-mom was also a flirt. Oh boy did she like to flirt with men. Young or old, married to one of her granddaughters or someone else, she didn’t care. But despite her flirting, her love for my pop-pop always shone through. I can’t think of their relationship without thinking of love. Despite how her mind began to become more confused as the years passed, she was always able to talk to me about my pop-pop with clarity. Two Christmas’s ago, when I was visiting, she had letters from him in her room. I read some and asked her about how they met and their courtship and I learned things I hadn’t before, and all the while she was talking to me, she was giggling and smiling. I loved it. I loved my mom-mom and will miss her dearly. I will so miss her smile and laughter. I will miss playing card games with her and having her call me the wrong name. But I am happy that she is in a place where she gets to see my dad and even more so that she gets to be with the man she loved so much, after waiting so long to be reunited.