Losing Gma

When I met David‘s family three-ish years ago, his grandma was a happy lively woman who was full off stories. She grew up on a farm in Manitoba after world war two. She watched the world change around her in amazing and drastic ways.

She made the over three hour drive from David’s home town to mine twice. Once with David’s mom and cousin for David’s and my wedding shower and once for our wedding. She also had a chance to meet my family before all of that when we had an engagement party of sorts at a conservation area part of the way between David’s home town and mine. She was lively and happy and talkative and she and my mom got along well.

Over the years that I knew her, her health deteriorated quickly and her stories became fewer and farther between. By Christmas 2015, Gma was on oxygen all the time for COPD. She wasn’t leaving her house as often and while she did go to David’s aunts for part of Christmas, she didn’t stay too long.

Early this past February she was hospitalized for pneumonia, and David and I went to see her in the hospital. She had definitely made another huge downward turn since we saw her at Christmas, but it seemed she was still strong enough to overcome the pneumonia. The next weekend we were back with David’s family again to discuss next steps as Gma’s health was making living alone difficult. In all of our discussions we were assuming she would have at least another year with us, of not more. Less than two weeks later, David got a call from his cousin. Gma was gone.

It’s been hard for David and for me to fully grasp the loss. We have helped to sort through her things, I got to spend some time looking through old photo albums, and Gma’s looked so young, happy, vibrant, and beautiful.

David compiled what he could find of her creative writings into a book, the house looks different, filled with David’s mom’s stuff instead of Gma’s. But I still expect to see her again. I expect her to come out to brunch with us. We had a bon fire of her papers yesterday. I had hoped that would help with a sense of closure, but I didn’t feel it. David hasn’t fully accepted the loss yet either and I feel at a loss to help him.

The one thing that I wish is that I had had more time with her before she took such a drastic slide. I know that by the end she was a prisoner in her body and she is no longer suffering. I wouldn’t wish her to return to that. But I do wish I had heard more stories, more laughter.

Gma didn’t want a funeral, so there will be a celebration of life in May, at that point her ashes will be placed at the waterfront and a tree planted in her honour. I hope that that will finally bring closure, and help us move into our new normal as a family.

We miss you Gma.

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