March 15, 2011

Happy 100 Grandma!

Today I had an awesome afternoon at my grandma's care home celebrating her 100th birthday. I was deeply affected watching everyone line up to hug her - she makes a lot of people happy. There was a couple ballroom dancing together so beautifully with big smiles on their faces. Grandma told me they are married, but she has terrible Alzheimer's. He takes care of her and she is full of joy when they are dancing. He absolutely adores her, it was heartwarming to watch him care for her.
 A few years ago I gave her a journal to write her story out for me, so that I'd be able to share her tales with my children one day. Here are some of my favourite tidbits.  She grew up in Alsask Saskatchewan. She rode horseback to school. Ironically, her horse was named Gerry, the same name as her future husband. She had seven siblings and they grew up on a farm in a two bedroom home. They owned cows, horses, chickens, pigs and turkeys. She had four brothers and three sisters. She has outlived them all. They had a coal oil stove and spring well water. They survived the Depression by selling cream and butter from their farm to the local town. She won all the running races in her town. She cooked for a family of 7, three times a day to earn money. When they moved, they travelled with their farm animals by train. When her family moved to Fort Francis, she met my grandpa at a wedding reception and knew immediately that she loved him. He asked her out that night and they were together ever since. They bought a bakery in a small town called Emo and lived in the two rooms behind it. Eventually, my grandpa was suffering too many bouts of pneumonia, so they headed to BC for warmer weather. They were married for over 50 years before my grandpa passed away from cancer in 1990. Their only child was my mom. My grandma has endless stories of neighbours she's helped, people she's taken in; she is one of the most giving people I've ever met. One of the most touching things she told me was that she never expected to outlive my grandpa by 20 years (they were 80 when he passed away). She thinks about him everyday and misses the life they shared. But she said she's thankful for my mom, our family and books, because that is her world now. It just really made me realize, it's all about the people we build stories with.  Time flies, we really have to cherish every shared moment.

No comments: