Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Happy Birthday Gram...
My Grandmother passed away this morning, early before the sun came up...
I was up because I had gone to bed early the night before, I meditated and prayed for her passing. She had lost consciousness the night before and I was wishing her transition would be peaceful and she would not have to linger in a place of hearing and feeling but not being able to communicate.
I got to spend time with her and got to tell her I loved her. I am not sad, I am grateful.
My gram lived a long life and many of the years of her life were spent caring for me and my siblings because our parents could not. She wasn't warm and cuddly, she was strong and good. We could depend on her to come and rescue us in the middle of the night from a sleep over we were not ready for, to get us to a doctor when we were sick, to make sure we always had something to eat and a safe person to call when we were afraid.
My gram was my mothers care-taker, my mother never quite got that, still doesn't. Gram spent her whole life worrying about and taking care of her. Without my gram my mother wouldn't have survived. My mother has always dealt with mental illness and drug addiction, gram never judged her and was always took her side. It is sad that her life was spent giving to her and there are times I have been angry about how much sacrifice that was but my gram knew how to love unconditionally.
My gram did not shower us with gifts, she didn't kiss us good night or tell us she loved us. She didn't braid our hair or take us to Sunday tea, she didn't make us dresses, fuss over us or own a brag book. My gram was not our cushion, she was our protector and our rock.
What gram gave me was good advice, she taught me cook, garden, honor family, work hard, play cards, fish, and showed me how to make something beautiful from almost nothing at all. She told me stories that would last my whole life.
She believed in simple things like a good meal, a night sky, the sound of the ocean, that a long drive could clear your head, and a good nights sleep could be found in a comfy chair with a book on your lap. A party was not a party without lots of food and music, the best place for a party was under the big tree in her yard. A pic-nic table could be made from an old door and comfort could be found at the kitchen table. Family first...always.
At Stevie's funeral my gram took my hands in her delicate brown hands that looked like leathery road map, looked at me with her magnified mosquito eyes and said, "It should have been me, I am ready to go, it should have been me" She told me she loved me very much. She never had to say it before because I always knew she loved me but hearing it on that day split me down the middle. The unfairness was obvious but as it turned out my gram still needed to be here and losing Stevie tought me how to care for my gram in her last days. She lit a candle everyday for the last three years for my daughter.
Before Stevie died she had a dream that my grandmothers house was beautiful, filled with light and vases of baby pink roses. Stevie said that in her dream they were preparing for a birthday party and Stevie's job was to find my grandmothers baby and bring it to the party. She searched and searched and finally found it under a big tree.
I believe that at five this morning (on my grandfathers birthday) there was a house full of pink roses and healing light, guests waiting anxiously for the arrival of the birthday girl, and my daughter holding the baby my grandmother lost in childbirth so many years ago. The nurse said the last thing gram did was reach her hands out to embrace someone.
Happy Birthday gram, thank you, and I love you too.