Pages

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Edith Louisa

three.generations

my mom called me yesterday afternoon to tell me that my grandmother had passed away in her sleep on tuesday evening. she had fallen ill this past summer, and was never able to fully recuperate. i feel so blessed that d, the girls and i had a visit with her last month on our way to the island. it was brief. i could feel how she was failing. so frail. we didn't take our annual group picture. the one above was taken a year and a half ago. i want to remember her like this.

she had a hard life. her mother died when she was two or three years old. her father didn't know what to do with a little girl on a farm and sent her off to live with relatives in "the city". she returned to rural manitoba and married a cattle farmer with whom she had four children. and then her husband died and she moved away from the farm again - to raise her two sons and two daughters in "the city". they grew up. and she bought a small hobby farm just outside of town where she lived with her two youngest children and raised shetland ponies and sheep. i have vague recollections of riding a ski doo, petting the sheep, and gazing at the large porcelain cow that sat high on a shelf in the corner of her living room. when that became too much, she returned to "the city". to the little yellow house of my memories.

i have vivid and fond memories of her little yellow house in brandon with the fish pond in the back yard. i remember my brother and i falling asleep in her big bed while my parents were out for the evening. i remember eating kentucky fried chicken at her kitchen table. i remember finding an old brownie camera that she let me play with. and i remember her knitting while we listened to old disney records on her turntable. she moved from my hometown in manitoba to british columbia when i was still a young girl. but we would drive to see her every summer. she survived breast cancer, a bad second marriage, and bone cancer. the latter came around the same time i moved to los angeles, and i was generously given a leave so i could go stay with her and help care for her as she struggled to overcome the burden of her chemotherapy. they had wanted to remove her leg. but she wanted to fight. she loved to walk. every day. and couldn't imagine having that taken away. she won that fight. and i won too. an amazing week of stories and time. and advice that true love was more important than anything else. and of course knitting.

my mom was able to spend the last few weeks with her. so fortunate. she told me that as she went in and out of consciousness she would often be completely unaware of her surroundings, and her hands would often be busily knitting the air in front of her while her mind carried her to other times and places. on her final day - she picked up the project she could only see and turned to my mom and said - "It's finished."

27 comments:

leslie said...

oh my gosh i am crying here at work, oh tracy!

Naomi said...

It's hard to know what to say when someone you love is gone. My grandmother passed away 11 years ago of lung cancer. She smoked since she was 12. Crazy. I look just like her and am proud to have some of her things (like the old tea pitcher or platter we always used for Thanksgiving dinner for turkey). I still think about her almost everyday. Last night in fact I went out and bought pearly white nail polish and painted my nails. That's the color she always wore. She's still in my heart. Always will be. I know because of her influence in my life, I am a lot of what I am today. I miss her but am honored to carry on her stories and memories to my kids someday.

Elizabeth said...

Oh, what a lovely post. She sounds amazing. I'm so happy that you got to see her before she went.

On a lighter note, what is with the Canadian prairies and KFC? Most of my memories of my grandfather involve eating KFC in his kitchen.

alyssa said...

She looks like such a beautiful person! I love this portrait of all of you together. Your story brought tears to my eyes. Take care. Sending you well wishes and thoughts.

amy h said...

Lovely writing today, Tracy -- any person would be honored to have something like this written about them. I'm sorry for your loss.

Alicia A. said...

I'm so sorry- she sounds fascinating.

Hugs to you all.

BunkleLife said...

oh Tracy, what a lovely portrait of a very strong woman you have painted. I am so glad you had a chance to see her, and that your girls had an opportunity to have her in their lives as well.
thinking of you
xoxJ

Zoe said...

What a beautiful photograph and lovely memories. My thoughts are with you x

lisa s said...

oh tracy...

that story. the knitting being finished. i have a tear in my eye.

going through something very similar. my thoughts and hugs are with you....
xo

Mama Urchin said...

Tracy, thank you so much for sharing your lovely memories. I'm so sorry to hear of your loss.

house on hill road said...

Tracy, this is such a loving and heart warming post. What a tribute to a wonderful woman. Thinking of you and your family.

emily said...

tracy, i am so moved by your tribute to your grandmother. and my thoughts are with you. big thoughts. and hugs.

Cate said...

I have never commented before, but I wanted to say how sorry I am that you've had two big losses in such a short time. Take care of yourself -- it's a lot to take.

Kristina said...

Hugs ;o)

shari said...

thinking of you and your family tracy. thank you for sharing these beautiful memories of her. xox

manda said...

gosh...what a beautiful story. thankyou. blessings to you x

Courtney said...

Oh my, really beautiful. I'm so sorry for your loss. I'm so thankful for your story.

Julia said...

tracy. i am so sorry for your loss. i'm glad that you and your family had a chance to see her recently and that you had the opportunity to have such a close relationship with her throughout your life. you have that to be thankful for.

this single spark said...

Sad and beautiful post. I'm so sorry to hear of another loss. My heart, as always, is with you.

xo C.

sam lamb said...

Oh Tracy, hugs to you. Thank you for the story - what a strong woman she was. Imagine moving 4 children, on your own, to the city and then decide to buy a hobby farm later on! What an inspiration.

Take care of yourself and your memories of a little yellow house in Brandon.

Blair said...

Tracy, I'm so very sorry for your loss. Her story is such an inspirational thought for me to start my day thinking about. Peace be with you and your family. She is smiling at these memories, I am sure. xo

Leah said...

I am so sorry for your loss. Thankyou for sharing your memories of your Grandmother, she sounds like a wonderful woman. Leah x

melissa f. said...

i keep thinking that today is the day i will call... know that i am thinking about you all. i am so glad your mother was with her in body, and i'm sure she felt your little family with her as well. xo

shash said...

wow, what a life story. a beautiful post tracy. thinking of you.

angelique said...

Just read this beautiful post and I hope it is not too late to tell you how sorry I am for your loss. What a beautiful tribute to your grandmother. Obviously she will live on in stories to your daughters and that is a wonderful thing.

Susanne said...

So sorry for your loss Tracy. What a beautiful story - thanks for sharing, thinking of you.
Susanne

cally said...

a sad but beautiful post. a lovely tribute to a loved woman.