in about a week it will be exactly a year since my granny helen passed. granny helen is the grandparent i miss the most – she’s the one who i had the longest time with as an adult, and probably the one i’m most like (kind of prophetic of my parents to give me the middle name helen). in honour of my granny, i’m sharing something i wrote the night she passed.
It’s 4am and I still can’t sleep. I’m sure if I told one of my more spiritual friends they’d tell me it’s because I’ve sensed her spirit leave or something.. I’m not quite as sensitive to other worldliness – even though now that I think about it, Granny kind of was (I always remember Mommy telling us about her smelling where someone had died in a room). It got even more acute when she was older, the last few years she’d been complaining about all the people in the room even when it’s just me there. I always figured that washer 6th sense gaining another dimension. Maybe I’ll get that gift in old age.
Granny was 92 and I’d never heard her talk about death. Despite health that hadn’t been great for the past 10 years and hadn’t been good for at least the past 4, I don’t think I’d heard my Granny talk about the possibility of dying. My sister and I joked that her childhood dream was to turn 100 and she was determined to fulfill it come hell or high water. I don’t know what was holding her with us, but I’m glad it held her this long.
Now I’m up and I know that people say you should celebrate a passing like this, better places and all that but I’m torn. Because I’m not sure that as unhappy as my Granny may have been, that she was the type to want us to celebrate her being gone. My Granny, like me in family spaces, loved the attention. So I’ll straddle a fairly thin line – I won’t celebrate her being “free”, I’ll celebrate her life. And I’ll miss her – I think Granny would love to be missed.
Celebrating my Granny means remembering how much she loved to laugh. I remember being young and showing her ridiculous gyrating dance moves and trying to get them to do them too just so I could make her laugh till she was unable to catch her breath for a few moments.
It means remembering her style. My Granny loved her red-haired updos, her red lipstick, brightly coloured clothes and her big necklaces. I will always remember whenever “company” came over she would demand that she be changed into a proper outfit, or dressing gown, put on her lipstick and a necklace so nobody could say she wasn’t stunning .
It means remembering that life doesn’t always go as we plan. Sometimes our bodies don’t work the way we want. Sometimes our mouths can’t say what our strong minds want them to. And so we have to take joy in things like random new food items we find at the supermarket, the scent of the perfume that someone gave us years ago, and the memories of an 80 year old granny trying to wuk up like her granddaughter when she can barely breathe through laughter.
in the words of derevolushunwidin “she was my granny and she was fierce”.