Friday, June 01, 2007

Ode to Lou

For some reason, I always called her Granny. You know how kids all have different names for Grandma and Grandpa? Like Oma and Opa, Gramma and Grandad or like one person I knew, Baba and Gigi. Well, for some reason, they were always Granny and Gramps to me.

She died on Monday night at the age of 85. This wasn't terribly shocking to me. She'd been in the hospital for a month prior after a near heart failure and that experience really sucked out whatever life was left in her. She had advanced stages of Alzheimer's or some other form of dementia. Last time I visited her, I doubt she even knew who I was.

We're not having a funeral and being rational, I understand why. But this really unsettles me. Someone lives for 85 years and there's absolutley nothing to acknowledge this? She just dies alone in a nursing home and that's it? I feel like there should be some closure.

Despite the fact that even in her earlier years, she was a very odd lady, I always remember her being a decent grandmother when I was a kid. She used to steal those jam or honey packets from McDonald's and then give them to me out in the yard or in the car to eat when my parents would never let me eat them. Not sure what the allure was in eating plain jam but for some reason I thought it was some awesome and delicious act of rebellion coordinated by my grandmother.

Her and my grandfather spoiled me rotten. For Christmas, I'd pick out anything I wanted and it was mine, no questions asked. I'd shop around in the mall selecting all the items I liked and then drag along my poor grandparents to each store to make the purchase. They always seemed happy to do it and my grandma really got no greater joy than pleasing me with presents.

She used to make these shortbread cookies that I loved as a kid. She knew I loved them and every time we'd visit, she'd have one of those old-school cookie tins filled with them.

They used to spend their winters in Victoria and I loved visiting as a kid. Every morning we'd walk around a giant pond and feed swans and geese with bread crusts. She always complained that the walk was too exhausting but came anyways because she needed her "exercises."

She had a real sweet tooth. Her Christmas presents always consisted of several boxes of chocolate that she would polish off before noon. When we'd question her gluttony, she'd lie and say there were still some left. We knew better. The evidence was usually all over her hands and in her false teeth.

She had a very scattered mind which was probably an early indication of her later ailments but it often caused us much amusement. Once I found her out in our front yard holding a coffee cup in one hand, a metal coat hanger in the other and staring up at the sky. When I asked her what she was doing, she replied casually "Oh, just looking for my purse."

Her passing is not entirely sad. She was not really living a life anymore anyways. In fact, she really hadn't been living anything resembling life since my grandfather passed away 5 years ago. I know my mom and her never got along so there likely won't be any fond reminiscing about her next time I see my parents. I imagine we won't even talk about it. For me though, it's important that I acknowledge her life because she was the only grandmother I knew.

So to Granny - May she rest in peace :)


Anonymous said...

She also had a very distinctive fashion sense ;) Especially the bright green suit she enjoyed wearing the to Kincardine pipe band parade, or the jean overalls she kept asking us about whether they were cool... hehe. I always felt priveliged that I was one of your friends she remembered the longest :) I also remember being along on one of those Christmas present shopping sprees and thinking how lucky you were to have grandparents who loved you so much. As corny as it sounds I guess they are together again now and wherever they are, and it's probably a grand old time. ;)

M said...

*tear* You know, I never really thought that her passing would effect me so much but I've really been unsettled and overly emotional all week. Poor ol' gal. Despite all her weirdness, I really think that overall, she genuinely meant well. She often offended people with her comments but I don't think she ever meant to.

Have to admit, I did chuckle remembering those horrible overalls... she definitley wasn't the trendiest of grandmothers ;)