As I graduate from High School and go off to school I can’t stop myself from wishing that my grandparents were here to celebrate with me. I am one of the lucky kids who has always been surrounded with love and support, but nothing can truly replace my Gram’s hugs and a celebratory bag of Lindt Lindor chocolate you got with any big achievement. Though I selfishly wish she was still here cheering me along, I know my Gram is somewhere better and is celebrating with me (and she’s probably got her old cheerleading pom-poms back).
I thought this week for my blog I would share a past story with you about my lovely Grandma. So we can reminisce together. In my English class last year I was encouraged to write a vulnerable piece that embodied something that I considered my own creation story or my transformative moment. Many kids spoke of their birth story and others of their religious beliefs. A few kids, including myself, took a different route and wrote about a moment in our lives that created who were are today. I really want you to hear mine because my Grandma’s wisdom deserves to be appreciated from more than just my pen and paper. I hope you enjoy it.
Old, ill, tired, scared, and defeated. That’s the opening scene to my life-altering story and my transformative moment. My Grandma, weak-boned and nearly bald, sitting on a bench, waiting. My mom, packing up boxes in her house that hadn’t been touched since the sixties. And me, trying to find something to talk about besides prescriptions and wills as we pass the time.
What are we waiting for today? A hospital bed. It felt like for the month prior we had all been focusing on and waiting for something different. My Dad was jittery anticipating what a world without Mom would be like. While my Aunt focussing on taking care of transferring accounts and making arrangements. And my sisters and I hopelessly awaiting an alternate reality where good people don’t get sick.
My Gram was handling her nearing end the best out of all of us. She was too strong and too proud to let any silly disease get the best of her. That’s how she lived her life. That’s how she wanted to teach her grandkids to deal with adversity. And so she did.
Back to the story, as we sat out in the glaring sun waiting for the medical delivery man to finish installing the bed, an old pal and neighbour of my Grandma walked by. They started to make small talk about the good old days like many eighty-year-old women enjoy doing. They were giggling and reminiscing. When suddenly the conversation flips as the delivery man carries in the pale blue sheets and starch white pillow through the driveway.
My Grandma explains quickly, almost as if she’s embarrassed about dying. The short, grey-haired lady responds, not with an “Oh I’m sorry to hear that” or “I had no idea” but rather with a profound question: “How do you manage to stay smiling during all of this, Mary?” My Grandma, though tired and fragile answers without batting an eye, “What else can I do?” There it is. That’s right, my transformative moment is only five words. Five words that since that conversation three years ago have gotten me through my greatest trials.
At times when it would have been easier to live life by the first five words of this story, my Grandma bravely and fiercely chose the last. What else can I do?
My Gram is woven into this family and for that, I will never stop smiling.
Love you so Gram