My grandma passed away recently at the age of 93. Last week we had her visitation, funeral service and interment of ashes. What was nice about this process was it gave us an opportunity to privately say goodbye to her (immediate family only so there were 12 of us total). The saddest part for me was saying goodbye before the casket closed. My dad, two uncles and my grandpa all took hold of the blanket covering my grandma’s legs and lifted it up to just below her chin. As they did this, the rest of us put our hands on their shoulder as if the entire family was covering her before laying her to rest. We then stood back and bowed three times before they closed the casket. There was some sort of finality to it all, and watching my 95-year-old grandpa, who was married to my grandma for 65 years, wave goodbye was heartbreaking.
Despite all of this, whenever I’ve reflected on her death, I just can’t help but feel eternally grateful for the time that I had with her. Even the last 6.5 years, which my grandma spent in a nursing home following a debilitating stroke.
My fondest memories of my grandma:
- She sewed a Snow White costume for me and a matching Snow White dress for my Barbie, all from looking off of a picture in a book.
- She loved taking pictures in front of touristy things and made my parents drive her to the Soo Locks (I must get this from her).
- She made my uncle drive her to my university after I got in so she could take a picture in front of the sign. And I’m not even the favourite grandchild!
- She gave me a red packet to help pay for grad school (She loved school. The more education the better in her opinion).
- She was a horrible cook.
- She was really good at nagging and pushing every button to set someone off during an argument, much to the annoyance of my relatives.
- She was an artist and a poet.
- She was the first person I saw after I got married and turned around to walk back down the aisle. My aunt and uncles had brought her and she was waiting at the end by the entrance. I didn’t know she would be there and she seemed happy.
My uncle told me that the staff at the nursing home said that shortly before she passed away, my grandma was suddenly very happy. She also tried to speak, much to their surprise (she couldn’t speak following her stroke 6.5 years ago) and although she didn’t say any real words, they felt as though she was thanking each and every one of them for taking care of her.
After my grandma’s funeral, my family went and had lunch. Though there were 12 of us, we had 13 at the table (and set her picture down on a chair). My uncles filled her cup with tea and my aunt said it was the last time we would all be together.
Even as I continue to process everything that happened last week, I am grateful at how peaceful she looked (wearing one of her favourite dresses). She looked like she was just sleeping.
Rest peacefully grandma. Hope to see you again.