Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Warning: This contains some sad memories

So before writing my own posts I usually check in on all the blogs I read, and a common theme today seems to be memories, in one way or another so I am going to combine some of the comments I made on other people's blogs into a hopefully somewhat coherent post.

For some reason I seem to be dredging up some pretty sad/rough memories tonight. Like the death of my grama. She died when I was 11, I wish that meant I could be over it by now. I'm an adult, you'd think I could remember everything and not feel that pang of sadness, of missing her. I can still remember exactly what the inside of her purse smelled like. Juicy fruit and something almost indescribable. She was probably one sandwich short of a picnic basket at times, but a wonderful lively vibrant woman. She was Irish, and the passion that comes with the fiery red hair, and those loving green eyes is not to be taken lightly. The reason I say she was crazy is she had all those Irish superstitions that scare the piss out of you when you're a kid, and some I don't know if she made them up or if she heard them somewhere. She used to tell me and my brother that if we ate white sugar worms would grow in our stomaches. White sugar was a big no-no at grama's house.

She was only 4'9 or so at the end of her life, she had been probably 4'11 at some point but she shrunk in her old age (not that she lived to be too old, she was only 67 when she died) but for such a tiny woman you would not believe the size of her personality. She had no concept of 'indoor voice'. And she was not a lady that you messed with, she may have been small but boy could she fight, and swear like a sailor. She never hurt or yelled at (in an angry way) any of her kids or grandkids, but if anyone threatened her she could hold her own. (From what I've heard about her when she was younger, she used to get into bar fights and the like. Clearly by the time I was born she had passed this stage in her life, but she still had an air of "don't mess with me" about her).

She loved her grandkids dearly, and being the only granddaughter out of numerous grandchildren (all boys), I was like her little doll. She loved sewing and crochet, I learned from her how to make my own patterns and sew pretty much everything, and between her and my nana I learned to crochet as well. She would dress me up everytime I would visit, and take pictures of me in crocheted hats and handmade dresses wearing her "pearls" as she called them. (She had loads of costume jewellery).

It was very sad how she died. Towards the end of her life, I'd say the last 2 or 3 years, she began feeling sick and seeing her doctor frequently. He never gave any merit to the pains she was complaining about, and pretty much ignored her. He told her it was a cold or a flu, and gave her a new diet (not sure how that was supposed to get rid of this cold he was sure she had for 2 years..) Anyway in time it became so bad that my grampa decided she needed to be taken to the ER. They brought her in, and tested her for everything. They found out she had cancer and it had spread everywhere. There was no hope at all. They put her on chemo and told her that it wouldn't cure it, but it might slow it down.

All that it did was make her feel even more sick, and made her lose her hair. Which was something she had been very proud of her entire life was her beautiful auburn hair, even as she aged it never turned gray, she gained "gold" and "silver" hairs in amongst the red. She was very proud of her gold and silver hairs, and often I would comb her hair as a little girl while we sat on her bed and she told me made up stories.. Seeing her lose her hair was very painful. I resented the doctors, all of them. The one who had seen her for years and never even tested for anything, just sent her home with a list of foods not to eat. And these new ones, the oncologists who knew it would not help her, but gave her chemo anyway.

She lived long enough to come to my 11th birthday party. She died a few short days after. I remember the very last time I saw her, it was after the party. We were going to her house. My dad would not come with us, even though he loved my grama dearly (this is my mom's mother I'm speaking of). I didn't understand why at the time, but he explained it to me when I was much older. But I will always remember what my dad said to us before we left the house. With tears in his eyes he said "When you see your grama you give her a big hug and a kiss okay?" And I knew when he said that, that this would be the very last time I ever saw her. And it was. She died a few days later in the hospital surrounded by her children, and some of her sisters.

The night before she died, when my mom was staying at the hospital with her (actually it was the night she died, but I didn't know it at the time) I prayed that she would die. I went to bed that night asking the lord to take her up into heaven and take away all of her suffering. She was catholic, and even though I am not, I respect her beliefs and she was determined that she would be going to heaven, and so that was exactly where I wanted her to go. When my mother told me in the morning that grama had died, I didn't cry. I said "that's good." I wrote her a poem. I made an earthly offering for her of bits of nature, twigs and rocks and leaves. I wrote a letter that is to this day still sealed in an envelope. I no longer have any idea what it says.

She died early on Wednesday morning sometime in the wee hours of twilight. I did not cry for her death until Friday, at the funeral. And the only thing that got the tears flowing was a Hank Williams song, and no offense to anyone but I'm not a country fan. However my grama loved Hank Williams and a few days before she died, we had put on her cd for her, and she had asked that we dance because she no longer had the strength to. And when they played that song (Hey Good Lookin') at her funeral I burst into tears. It's the silliest thing, I mean that song is ridiculous. It would make me laugh if it didn't make me cry.

Anyway, wherever you are Dolly, I love you and I miss you and I think you know it. I hope you are taking care of papa, and Sophie.
I think Nemo is going to be like you, I can tell already somehow. I just have a feeling. You were one hell of a lady. And I'm so honoured that I got to know you, and be your granddaughter. I love you.

Next post I will tell you the story of Clancy, and how he got that name..

1 comment:

CLC said...

Beautiful tribute.