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Saturday, December 30, 2006

the sun still shines for you

My grandmother was graceful.

I don’t think I ever heard her complain. She made nice comments, asked direct questions, and would occasionally drop a sharp and witty comment without changing her tone. Her laugh was quiet but I felt like she must be roaring inside.

When I was little we would spend time in the garden together. She would sit on a lawn chair while I brought her cans of dirt soup. If she ever got tired of this game, I never noticed, as she always played along in eating whatever I gave her.

For most of my life she has lived several provinces away. Living in New Brunswick earned her the nickname “far away grandma”. For a long time I knew her through Christmas cards, a note scrolled in perfect handwriting, and short phone calls.

Everything about her, her writing, her tone of voice, has always felt strong and confident. Years after her husband’s death she never slowed down once. She was even part of a bowling team.

This summer she flew to Vancouver for my cousin’s wedding. When we decided to dress up in Indian dress for a party she didn’t hesitate. She picked out a soft pink outfit in India town, a simple outfit at a reasonable price, and joined right in. I think I only ever saw my grandma wear soft pink, her clothes always spotless and without wrinkles.

When she pulled out her Indian pants from their package we discovered each pant leg was the size of her whole body. Rather than get upset she laughed. I never saw her show any kind of resentment.

At the party she looked stunning. She was a small woman, glowing in soft pink. My tall, dark haired, gorgeous cousin often took her by the arm, and was always making sure she was okay. When the photographer asked us to get into Charlie’s Angels stance, my grandma pulled a fierce face and put her hands into the shape of a gun. Her personality was full of good surprises.

She died this morning. It’s hard to accept. I spoke to her on Christmas morning and she sounded chirpy and well. My brother had thought of sending her a gift basket and she was happy about it.

I’ve been in a bit of a daze about it. The pain comes in waves. But like my grandmother, I’m going to be strong and confident. I’m going to take long walks, enjoy small pleasures, and maybe even go bowling once and a while.

Rest in peace Zillah Young, you’ve walked a long way.

ready for the party


Blogger tatiana said...

My condolonces to you and your family, Gillian. Your grandmother sounds like an amazing woman. Full of life & energy. I love reading about women like this. It inspires me to grab life by the horns & stop living life in a way that has become much too comfortable as of late.

At 34, I have become a little lazy. A little complacent. 2007 is going to be a year of change for me - I am taking inspiration from women like your grandmother (and yourself!) and implementing a new outlook on my own life! Life is much too short to sit and watch it go by, all the while thinking *Oh, you have have plenty of time for this and for that. . .* - Not so! Thank you for this. My thoughts are with you and your family.

I hope that as this year quickly draws to an end, you will begin 2007 with the same postive outlook & enthusiasm that has made you who you are and your blog one I can't wait to read . . .

Happy New Year!!!

6:32 PM  
Blogger Julia said...

I'm so sorry to read this Gill. My grandmother passed away last week and, well, what can I say? Your grandmother sounds amazing and your memories of her will be of such comfort.

I hope you have an amazing 2007.

7:23 PM  
Anonymous Liz said...

I am very sorry for you loss, what you have are wonderful memories. I feel honored for you to have shared them with us.

I am not very religious, but you and your family are in my thoughts!

7:53 PM  
Blogger Wenda said...

Oh Gill, what a tribute you are to her. I'm sorry for your loss.

10:21 PM  
Anonymous Kate said...

My deepest sympathies to you and your family. Please let me know if you do something to honour your gandmother's memory so that I can contribute.

4:10 AM  
Anonymous T said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, Gill. You and your family are in my thoughts.

10:53 AM  
Blogger Lala Van said...

I'm sorry for your loss. Gill, I know it isn't easy, my dad's mum passed away recently as well...All I can say is that we are lucky to have had them in our lives for as long as we did..your Grandma seemed like a wonderful person, and your writing honours her in a beautiful way.



3:01 PM  
Blogger Dehilly said...

I wish you and your family long life. May love for your Grandmother, bring honor to her memory. She sounds like a lovely woman, who lived each day for the beauty it brings.
My mom passed away in April, and it takes a long time for it to become real. To accept the world is missing out, on the company of someone special.

12:26 AM  
Anonymous Jen said...

i'm so sorry gill...what an amazing woman.

1:11 PM  
Blogger LaLa said...

Hi Gill

It's been ages since I dropped by your blog, and I am truly sorry to read such sad news for your and your family.

Yourself and Anya have beautifully put into words the way I feel about my Grandma. Your Grandmother must truly be proud of you both.


1:30 AM  

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