I just spent the last 2 hours in a cramped 3-bed hospital room with my 82-year-old Godmother.
This is the woman my daughter is named after. The woman who was a best friend to my grandmother, a kind of surrogate mother for my own mother and the woman at whose home I have the fondest memories of my childhood.
She is a pretty amazing woman and I am so incredibly thankful that she has always been a part of my life.
Talking with her today, we covered the usual. How the kids and Natural Urban Dad are doing, how goes the progress on the new house, and the usual chit-chat. And then the conversation took a turn that it often does with her.
She is ready to die. She actually wants to die.
Seven years ago this December, the love of her life, the man she was married to for 60 years, the man who left her a love note tucked under her pillow every day, passed away.
She wants to be with him again.
A few months ago, she had a fall at her home and her son found her unconscious on the floor (he woke up suddenly at 3 AM and told his wife he had to go check on his mom). She told me that during those few hours that she was technically in a coma, that she was at peace. She was floating. She was on her way to see her love.
And then she woke up.
Today we also talked a lot about her life in Europe as a child, how her mom died suddenly at the age of 38 when she was only nine and of her life during and after the war. She showed me her engagement ring and told me the story of how my Godfather had to buy the gold on the black market and designed the bow-shaped ring himself. She told me of all the love notes and little presents that he would leave for her under her pillow, for no other reason than just because he loved her so much.
This is the stuff that great love stories are made of people!
And then we started talking about my grandmother. Helen (we never called her Grandma) was also an amazing woman. All 90 pounds of her. My Godparents where the closest thing to family that she had and they know the most about her life. I only know tidbits. If I have one regret in this life it is that I did not spend more time with her and get her to tell me more about her life.
You see, I do not know who my grandfather is. Neither does my mother. Helen was a governess in the late 1940's for a rich family in the south of France. She fell in love with the married chauffeur and proceeded to get herself knocked up at the spinster-y age of 42. This is as much as I know. And as I found out today, this seems to be as much as anyone knows. I assume this situation was quite the scandal in those days and in 1952, two years after my mother was born my grandmother and my mother immigrated to Canada. Once here, I do know that there was a short marriage to another man, who died of a heart attack and then I think Helen just swore of off men forever.
What I found out today, is that my dear grandmother, this tiny woman whom I have held on such a pedestal my whole life, who expected so much from me, who was always so prim and proper, was actually quite the goof. My Godmother regaled me today with stories about Helen. I heard about her walking around nude all the time. Answering the door with nothing on and with nary a care in the world. We had quite the giggle today about her many naked antics.
Why am I going on and on about all of this?
That is why.
I still only have tidbits of my grandmother's life. I wish that she had journaled more, that she had written down her thoughts, her experiences, her perspective of being a single mother in the 1950's and 60's. I wish I could have known her more, understood her more and that I had more of her to remember.
My Godfather wrote his memoirs and his children had them bound into a hardcover book for him before he passed away. I asked my Godmother for a copy of that book today. It was all written in French, so it might take me a while to read it. But read it I will.
Sometimes I hear people make disparaging remarks about being a blogger. Oh, you are not a writer, you are just a blogger. And I realized something today. I am both. And I am neither. I write not only for myself, but for future generations too.
And this is my legacy.
This blog is the way that MY grand children will know me when I am not around anymore. They will know the funny me, the sad me, the advocate me, the Mommy me and the rant-y me! They will be able to read about how their parents were born, read about how and why we did things "in the old days" and see their parents through my eyes (and my camera lens).
They will be able to see how we built our dream home, the home that their parents grew up in, the one that they will get to come to for sleep-overs and holidays and birthdays and anniversaries.
Maybe one day I or the kids will take this blog and make it into a book. Not necessarily for mass production, just for the family to have a tangible connection to the woman I am/will be/was. So I will write. I will write for me, for my kids and for my grand kids. I will write for the women who came before me, for my mother and for my grandmother...
...and I will write for my Godmother. May she soon find peace and her one true love waiting for her with open arms and an eternal love note.