G-Ma and Me

It’s been a whole month since I last posted in the Fur-iday Files. I hope you didn’t think I’d crossed the Rainbow Bridge. I’m slowing down, but still on this side of that particular bridge.

My G-Ma, on the other hand, is not, and that’s why I’ve been absent. I planned to write from her lake house in northern BC on October 8, but she wasn’t doing very well, I wasn’t in the mood for storytelling, and I was busy offering emotional support to T and Nollind.

Me and G-Ma in June when she was out walking laps on her wrap-around deck.

The three of us travelled north on the 4th of October for a week-long visit, and to cook a turkey for Thanksgiving. It was a terrific plan. But life had other ideas for us, and for G-Ma.

Driving north on a beautiful autumn morning.

I’m not sure how she felt about being grandma to a dog. I think okay once she got to know me for the sentient being I am. A couple of years ago, I sneaked a sandwich off a low table she’d set it on, and although it left her hungry, I think she appreciated my craftiness.

G-Ma died last Wednesday, one day after her 93rd birthday. She stuck around to celebrate as best she could in her condition and enjoy the messages from the many who knew her. There was even a call from an old friend who’d worked with her in the orchards of the Okanagan when they were both young women. She was pretty adventurous back in those days, especially for the 1950s.

And pretty strong too!

I learned a lot about my G-Ma this trip, partly because there was a bunch of storytelling and remembering, and also because T and her sister went through a forest worth of cards, letters, and other documents from her life. She kept everything and made notes about everything else. But then I guess that’s kind of what I do when I blog every week.

We had many things in common, actually. Like how we both love to be near the water. Maybe you remember my summer of twenty-six lakes?

The view from G-Ma’s deck on a foggy morning.

And there’s our shared love of sandwiches, as I mentioned earlier. We both enjoyed a good walk in nature for its sights and smells. And leaves! We both loved the fall season because of the cooling weather and beautiful leaves. She liked to marvel at their colours. I like to roll in them (and they make a fine camouflage).

It almost goes without saying, but naps. She and I reveled in a good nap, increasingly so as we grew older.

I think because of our connection on so many levels, and my highly tuned sense of smell, I knew G-Ma wouldn’t be with us long. I don’t normally like to lie on an uncarpeted floor, unless the day is very warm, but I made an exception in those final days with her. She had some good days while we were there, and I celebrated along with my peeps, but I knew they were fleeting.

Missing her already.

She slipped away quietly one evening after T’s younger brother and his family arrived from the West Coast and spent some time with her. I stayed just outside her room all evening. I knew she was leaving, and I wanted to be close.

I’ll sure miss going to see her at her house on the lake. It’s been one of my favourite travel destinations, and that was before they added a ramp.

So, G-Ma, wherever you are out there, up there, or over there, thanks for including me as “one of the kids” in one of your final talks with T, for welcoming me into your home, for the many strokes on the head, and for that sandwich.

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