Sunday, 15 May 2011

I Miss My Grandma

I have been thinking about my PGrandma (paternal grandmother) a lot lately, and wishing that I could talk to her.  She died when I was in 2nd grade (I think), so I didn't really get to know her.  I know that I loved her and she loved me.  Her death was the first time I questioned God.  I was angry that she was gone, and who else was there to blame?

She was a great grandma, she taught my brother and I to play softball, she let us make tents out of her old Hudson Bay blankets (Dad wasn't allowed to play with them when he was a boy), she hugged us, she gave me tea in proper china teacups and she tried to teach me manners and etiquette.

She grew up in a smallish town, in an upper middle class protestant family.  There was a proper way to behave and a proper way to live.   PGrandma did behave properly, but she lived her life a bit differently.    She bucked the convention of her family and of her society at the time, moved to the big city, had a career,  and didn't marry until she was 40.

There are huge gaps in my knowledge of PGrandma, because certain topics were not for proper discussion.    The gaps aren't just because I was young, but because she didn't tell my father these things.  I do know that PGrandma and PGrandpa knew each other long before they were married.  PGrandpa was married and divorced prior to marrying PGrandma - this is something my father did not know about until he was in his thirties.  I don't know if PGrandma had other marriage offers that she turned down, I don't know if she dated, I don't know if she was planning on being a single career girl her whole life.  I've heard things implying that PGrandma wasn't all sweetness and spice.  I know that once she knew about my parent's split that she was very angry at my father and to some extent cut him off.  I understand her position, she loved my mother and us children, and at that time it was not the norm to leave your wife to support herself & her children.

I have often wondered what she would make out of my life, what advice would she give me.  In some ways we have lived similarly, we both had careers, lived alone, waited a long time to find the right man, and we were both single moms (PGrandpa died when my Dad was 14).  The biggest differences would be about how we deal with other people and raise our children.  PGrandma's generation was the "children are to be seen and not heard" generation.  She was strict with my Dad, although he still managed to do lots of bad things and get into trouble (some day I might write about the garage story that nearly gave PGrandma a heart-attack), and manners were hugely important.  Emotions were not for public consumption, a pasted on smile was required if you couldn't provide a real one.

I wonder why I have been thinking about her so much lately, maybe it is because of the point in my life I am at, maybe it is because I wish she could see my beautiful boys, and maybe part of it is BBJ1's ghost.  (BBJ1 communicates to someone that I cannot see or hear, and when this happens he is often looking towards PGrandma's bookcase above which is a doll silhouette that she made.  BBJ1 refuses to ask "the woman" any questions that I ask him to, and will not relate anything that she says to him.  I became convinced that "the woman" is PGrandma and it is like torture that I cannot talk to her.)  I know that it is quite possible that there is no ghost and BBJ1 has an imaginary friend or that he is listening to sounds in the stairwell or other apartments.

I'll have to think about it some more, I just know that I miss her and that I wish that I had known her after I became an adult.

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