My Grandma is dying. The doctor says she has between hours and days to live. I moved to Ontario knowing my Grandma didn’t have a lot longer, and it’s weighed heavily on me. I don’t talk about it much because I don’t want my Grandpa to read this and worry, but he is worried already and I am heading home this weekend to be with the family. And hopefully I will get to see my Grandma and hold her hand and kiss her cheek. Or something. If she passes before then that is okay too, I don’t want her to hang on when she’s ready to go.
Grandma has been pretty influential in my life. She taught me how to read. She baked with me, cupcakes and cinnamon buns and hot cross buns. She and I went camping once just the two of us. Since Mom was a single parent, Grandma and Grandpa picked up the slack and looked after my sister and I when Mom was too busy or too tired. Grandma had a library of childrens books, and my favorites were the Amelia Bedelia books. Amelia Bedelia was always getting into trouble for taking instuctions literally, and then she would ALWAYS get fired and then suddenly rehired when she baked something particularly delicious.
Grandma was a peace activist. During the Cold War (which coincided with my childhood), we went to a lot of anti-nuke demonstrations together. She also was an NDP member and was involved with the Anglican church since her husband, Grandpa, was a minister. She often managed to convince me to go to Vacation Bible School, even though I wasn’t Christian. Later in my life when I started going to Anglican services at Easter and Christmas, I think she felt like she had made some kind of spiritual difference for me. When I came out to her and Grandpa as a teenager they were supportive, and later wore rainbow crosses to church to quietly promote LGBT inclusion in the Anglican church.
Grandma was a snap champion. My cousin Luke and I would play snap with her and she was extremely competitive, and her snap slaps were the stuff of legend! She wasn’t kidding around and she wasn’t going to give us an easy time just because we were kids. She loved gardening and bird watching, and often when we went up north to the cabin she would check her bird book and identify all the birds we saw. She grew strawberries in her back yard and once set a wasp nest on fire just in case my sister got stung by them while she babysat us.
Grandma was pretty much the ultimate Grandma. She knitted for a long time, making her grandchildren mittens and scarves and sweaters. She kept a notebook with her grandchildrens hand outlines, labeled with their names and ages. She made me the ultimate pair of mittens once, and I still have one of them. They were lavender and on the inside had a softer pink layer. Double layered mittens! They were the best.
Grandma got a little crankier when she got older and couldn’t do all the things she used to do, but she would still do silly things like tickle me and my mom when we visited her in her bed, and she still got excited about seasonal fruits and pieces of pie I would bring her.
I really love my Grandma, and I think a lot of other people do too, just people she met in her life. I’m gonna miss her.