Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Goodbye Amma.

My grandma died yesterday.

She was old, her body was frail and broken and her mind was fading. She lived a long and mostly healthy life, it was her time. Even though I know all of this, my heart is still broken.

I miss her.

I take comfort in that she believed in the promise of a heaven and an afterlife, where I can only imagine her being reunited with her beloved husband George (who died 55 years ago, and who she still loved with every fibre of her being) and her sisters and brothers. I am happy that she is free from her dementia, which wreaked havoc on her mind and emotions, leaving her a lost and confused shell of her former self. I am grateful that I got to hold her hand and say goodbye.

We shared a special bond, Amma and I. She was my dramatic, high-strung and hypersensitive kindred spirit. Memories of her are sprinkled throughout my whole life. I am so grateful for those.

Amma was the type of grandma who showed up to every school concert, awards ceremony, assembly, sporting event, function, presentation... Sometimes she'd be the only one, but if there was a seat for her to sit in she was sitting in it, waving excitedly and documenting our five seconds of glory with blurry group pictures that she'd develop and circle the tiny speck that we were in the group.

She was so proud of all her kids and grandkids.

She'd clip and save any mention of us in a newspaper or a newsletter, and she'd save those clippings in a box she made especially for that purpose. She'd gladly read school papers and assignments with enthusiasm, and she'd wear or somehow display any type of craft you gave her. When we were kids you would have been hard pressed not to see Amma wearing some hideous handcrafted broach or necklace that was made of plastic or from glitter and tiny pompoms.

In her head and her heart she thought her grandchildren were a thousand times better than we actually were. She bragged and exaggerated our accomplishments to anybody who would listen-- to her friends, to our friends, to doctors, cashiers, strangers she met in an elevator...

My whole life I've known this day would come. Partly because my grandma was always old and partly because when we got older she would follow us around her apartment with masking tape and a pen saying "Put your name on the things you want when I die."

I suppose you could call her a planner. She said she didn't want anybody fighting over her stuff after she died, so she opted for this "calling dibs" method instead.

Amma was an artist, a sculptor, a proud Icelander. She had refined taste and never left her apartment without lipstick. She always looked perfect and polished. She loved shopping at the Bay-- because that was were she landed her first job in the 1930s the hosiery department. She loved good food, especially desserts, and she was always up for a phone call or a visit.

Amma was a real special lady.

It's the strangest feeling, when someone has been a part of your forever and then they're not anymore.

My grandma's dementia had advanced a great deal in recent years. Life had become really hard. Last week she fell and broke her hip. She had surgery, but she was so frail and it was her time. Thanks to the doctors and nurses at the Seven Oaks Hospital, she passed away in comfort, without pain last night.

Amma, I love you so much. I am so grateful for you and all the wonderful times we had. I'm so thankful that you and Riel got to meet each other. I will tell her stories about you, and us, and about all of our shenanigans. You are in my heart forever.

1 comment:

  1. I am so incredibly sorry for your loss. I feel like I knew her from all of your posts. She was so loved.