Tuesday, December 07, 2004


For the last seven days now I've been opening up quotes and treats from my advent calendar. While they're all fantastic quotes, one has stuck out in my mind:

There are few sensations more painful, than in the midst of deep grief, to know that the season which we have always associated with mirth and rejoicing is at hand.

--Sarah Josepha Hale

While I'm not in the midst of deep grief this brings to mind my Grandparents. And I have found myself thinking about one or all of them at odd times lately. I actually lost my Mother's Mother on the cusp between Christmas Day and Boxing Day. That was... twelve years ago now I think. And maybe between that and finding myself without any grandparents left has made me think often of it these days.

I miss them. My Grandparents were all special and very unique people that I feel I didn't get the chance to know. That saddens me. My Grandpa M. (Lou) passed away when I was 18. 18 with the weight of the world on my shoulders. It was summer and I quit my job to stay with my Grandma M. (Pearl) while Grandpa was in the hospital. They lived in Toronto and there was no other family that could have done it at the time. We clashed. All the time. It just used to drive me crazy that she was still convinced that he would be coming home. He was 69 and I knew better. He was never coming home. What I didn't realize is that this was her, coping. But how could I have known then? I still remember shutting myself up in the bathroom with the phone cord stretched under the door sobbing on the phone with my Mom. I didn't want my Grandma to hear me but of course she did.

Lou had a profound effect on me. I got to know him in the end. We bonded and I took care of him. I wasn't there when he died and I've always felt badly about that. But shortly after he died he came to me in a dream. He came to say good bye. He brought someone else I didn't even know, and in my dream he brought me a bag of marbles (allys) to give to my sister. I remember that dream so well. We sat in the sun while reclining on lawnchairs at the side of my parents' house.

My Grandma M (Pearl) died a year and a half later. I'll never forget the profound disappointment I felt when I thought she had forgotten my birthday (which is very close to Christmas). And then she passed away suddenly. We travelled down to Toronto for the funeral and when I came back there was a birthday card in the mailbox for me addressed in her shakey handwriting. That was tough. I still have that card. I framed it.

My other Grandparents (Mary & Cecil) lived into their 80's. They were not taken from us so early. Cecil had a sad end. I'll never forget the last time I visited him in the hospital. It was Christmas and he cried when I said goodbye but I don't think that he even knew who I was. He was tiny and pathetic and heartbreaking in that hospital. It was hard to see and it was hard to leave him. I was living far out of town when he passed and I'm thankful that I was with my sister when we got the news.

My Grandma Mary passed away only a year and a half ago. She lived a long life so there's no sadness for a life cut short. But there's a certain sadness in my heart at the life she lived. Mary saw the world differently from the rest of us and she had the potential to be cruel and hurtful. But I still loved her. Loved her very much and it hurt more than I ever thought it would when she died. She waited for me. At least I like to think that she did. I got to my parents' house after 11pm that night and ended up going to the hospital for a quick visit. What was supposed to be a quick visit ended in a painful farewell and hours of hand holding until she took her last breath. She couldn't talk at the end but she watched us and it seemed that she understood the words that we spoke to her. I spoke at her funeral and thought I would be fine. As I was up at the podium my legs started to shake uncontrollably and I found myself in tears. I hope that she has found the peace and happiness in heaven that she never could on earth.

It was sad that I had no Grandparents left to attend my wedding. They were missed. At one point in the evening, I was standing outside the tent with some friends. I looked up and could have sworn I saw my Grandpa Lou. The funny thing is that the flash that I saw of him was never as I had known him. He looked like he looked in my own parents' wedding pictures. Big, strapping man with a brush cut. I never knew that version of Lou. As he approached, the illusion disintegrated and lo and behold it was my own father walking towards me.

Anyway, all that to say that I miss my Grandparents. I sometimes daydream that they can see me now and I hope that I'm making them proud.

The Buzz:

At 10:34 p.m., Blogger writersblock declared...

Someone once told me...

Regardless of your relationship with your parents, you miss them terribly when they die.

It seems grandparents are the same way.

At 11:14 p.m., Blogger Anvilcloud declared...

Very touching indeed. You shouldn't do that; you know what a sentimental old fool I am.

At 11:26 p.m., Blogger Cuppa declared...

I am sure they are looking across the universe and see you now. How could they not be proud? And wouldn't they just love Eric? He and Lou would have a a grand time together wouldn't they? Kindred sprits I would say.

Ahhh Christmas such a bittersweet time of year. Joy and sorrow all tangled up together and there is no separating them. Joy shared is doubled, sorrow shared is halved. So let yourself feel both and continue to share each when you can. Yes a bittersweet time of year indeed.

"The bitterest thing in our today's sorrow is the memory of our yesterday's joy." Kahlil Gibran

The sweet joy of life is still worth every bitter hurt when we lose someone we love. Hang in there kiddo. You are loved.

At 10:32 a.m., Blogger Amanda declared...

What a nice, bittersweet post.

I find myself regretting not paying more attention to my grandpa's tales about the war and such. I miss both my paternal grandparents - never got to know my maternal grandparents, though.

At 1:52 p.m., Blogger Dale declared...

WTG, Shauna. I hope you're satisfied. You've got me crying now. Beautiful post. I miss my Gramma Pringle.

At 2:01 p.m., Blogger Jennefer declared...

Wow Sha! That was beautiful. Way to touching to read so soon after my dad's funeral... but I made it through. I had the shakey leg syndrome too when I spoke.

Interestingly, my grandfather on my dad's side was named Cecil. I'm glad you have your memories of them.

At 2:34 p.m., Blogger Jen declared...

Looks like you have keen insight into your family heritage and how it has shaped you.


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