I’m not one to keep a diary.. nor keep a public online diary but sometimes I feel like it’s my only outlet where I can get everything out at once.
Tomorrow marks the one year anniversary since the passing of my grandmother. I called her Mumma. I’ve been trying to hold it in and not think about it too much. Or wait until tomorrow and do the remembering then. I can’t believe it’s been a year already. I can still hear her voice in my head saying my name or telling me she loves me.
She didn’t speak english and I don’t speak finnish so we never really got to communicate much. But that didn’t stop me from calling her every year on her birthday and making sure she was my first stop when I landed back home. And although we couldn’t communicate in a traditional sense, we had a strong bond, and a completely different relationship than anyone else.
I couldn’t wait to walk into her room and watch her face light up as she realized who I was at the door. And getting to hug her and give her an eskimo kiss.
For the longest time I thought that this was what all the cousins did when they greeted her, only later in my teens or early 20s did I learn that this was something special between the two of us. I have this picture hung in multiple places around my house and I am eternally thankful that this moment was captured in a photo.
I missed her at Christmas dinner this year. She hated the food at her nursing home – she complained about it as much as possible. And I swear to you she refused to eat all year just to save up stomach space for Christmas dinner. I think she would eat more than anyone else that night.
I miss her animated facial expressions. I would be sitting there visiting her and all of a sudden her and my mom would argue. I could always tell based on the tone of my moms voice. And mumma would just look at me with this goofy expression and shrug her shoulders like “what the heck is she freaking out about” – all I can hear is her laughing and saying “voy voy voy” because when I was around it seemed like nothing else mattered and she was just goofing off.
I’m devastated but grateful to have been there when she fell sick last year. Although some of my last memories of her are her laying in her nursing home bed the last week of her life – I had some really special moments with her. I got to hold her hand and try and comfort her as best as I could. And we got to exchange words of love. And one of the last days of her life she spent the entire time sleeping, but woke up during our final goodbye just to say “I love you”. This is my final memory of her – the most beautiful memory.
I wish that she could be there for the day that I get married, or for the day that I have children. But I know I will have so many great memories to share with my family when the time comes. How fun it was to spend days at her house playing barbies with my sister while she worked in the kitchen making us pancakes, or endless amounts of potatoes and gravy. How we used to clear a path for her in the living room from the giant barbies mess we created – just so she could get by to get to the bathroom. I miss the mints she kept on her coffee table, and how great it was when she had the pink ones. That was such a treat for us lol.
And every Christmas she would give us this tin container full of change and it was the greatest gift for the 4 of us to sit there and count up the pennies that we got to take up and spend on candy. These memories are what made my childhood.
She later moved into an apartment and I would go there and vacuum for her every week. It may have sounded like a chore but I would give anything to go back and get to take care of her again.
My mumma was the strongest woman I knew. One year in university she fell so ill she was hospitalized with severe dehydration and an awful UTI. She was in her late 80’s and had gone septic. All of her organs were shutting down and so I flew home to be with her in the hospital. At this age when this situation happens it is often a death sentence. I spent all day in the hospital with her, I would feed her water and put vaseline on her dried lips. I took pictures out the window so she could see what the view was like. Miraculously this woman recovered. I was there to hear how her liver and other organs started to regain function, and I was there to help her start walking again. Although that time sounds awful, I wouldn’t have traded it for the world. She took care of me so much as a child and it was so amazing to be able to return the favour. I also got to spend time with my aunt and hear some cool stories about my mumma and poppa. It was truly a beautiful memory, amongst all the health issues.
I know she is in a better place and watching down on me but I would give anything to give her one more hug, one more eskimo kiss and hear her speak one last time. I am so fortunate to have gotten to spend as much time with her as I did but I wish she could be with me for ever.
She was so beautiful, and I miss the bond we had.
“If there ever comes a day when we can’t be together keep me in your heart, I’ll stay there forever” – Winnie the Pooh