January 5, 2009 at 10:10 pm 2 comments

In my previous post I said that my Christmas was rather uneventful, which is true.  The part that I didn’t mention was the fact that I received a phone call no one ever wants to get. 

A message left on my cell, “Hi, it’s just mom calling.  It’s nothing major, but give me a call back when you get a minute”. 

To most people, this would really seem like nothing major, but this isn’t the case in my family.  In my family this means to call back, something is wrong but no one has died.  I got this same message from my dad when my mom had been rushed by ambulance to a hospital nearly two hours away because the hospital in our small town couldn’t figure out what was wrong with her.  Yes, it’s true.  My family are a bunch of downplayers. 

Needless to say, I called as soon as I could.  My dad answered and said that my grandmother had been taken to the hospital because she was having diarrhea and was dehydrated.  This seemed like a pretty routine thing until he mentioned that they were transferring her to another hospital to have a CATscan.  He said that he would have my mom call me when she got back because she was visiting my grandmother before they transferred her. 

My mom called back and I questioned why they were doing a CATscan on her head when the problem seemed to be her intestines.  Her response was, “Because of the tumour”.  Um, pardon? 

“What tumour?”

“The tumour behind her eye that she’s had for years”.

No one in my family had ever mentioned a tumour before.  Hence, the downplaying.  Apparently the tumour is a growth behind her eye that’s completely benign but they just wanted to check and see if it had changed at all.  There was good news, the tumour hadn’t changed and everything seemed to be fine. 

I went to visit her once she got back to the hospital in my hometown and I was stunned.  What is it about hospital beds that makes everyone in them look so small and fragile?  Seeing someone lying in a hospital bed is like seeing them in their most vulnerable state and it’s something I just wasn’t prepared for.  My grandmother and I have always been close which isn’t always easy in a family as large as ours.  My mom is one of twelve kids and as long as I can remember Saturday nights have always been for family dinners, and not just my mom, dad, brother and I.  EVERYONE – aunts, uncles, cousins.  There were always loud games of lacrosse, baseball and pickle.  Campfires and bike rides.  Kneading bread and knitting lessons.  Wallpapering and wrapping presents.  Custom made picnic tables (so we could all fit) and so many Christmas gifts you couldn’t get into the living room.  And through it all it’s been my grandmother holding everything together. 

She’s the one who made me french toast for breakfast, lunch and dinner for a week just because it was my favourite thing.  She’s the one who would knit me the best socks and sweaters and never complain about the crazy colour combinations that I picked.  She’s the one who asked me to say grace at family dinners once she saw my developing in my faith.  She’s the one who honestly told me that I didn’t make a very good redhead when I was 14 and feeling adventurous.  She’s the one who told me not to hit golf balls by the barn because I might break a window.  She’s the one who told me not to worry about it when I did break one.  She’s the one who came out to help me pick potatoes in flipflops and socks because her feet were so swollen, just because she said I looked tired and had been out there all day.  She’s the one who never minded that she never had any strawberries for pies, or peas for dinner because I would eat them right out of the garden as soon as they were ripe.  She’s the one who can remember all of our birthdays, but for some reason can’t spell any of our names.  She’s the glue, the matriarch. 

She’s 93 and I know she has been blessed with a full, long life but this just seemed to be the first time I ever really contemplated her mortality.  I know she’s not going to live forever, and if something were to happen I would rather it be quick than something drawn out, but just writing those words makes me feel like I’m wishing death upon her when that is the furthest thing from the truth.  She’s filled all of our lives with so much love that the last thing I want for her is to be in any kind of pain. 

The last time I lost a grandparent I was four and I really don’t remember that much.  I’m so thankful that I have so many great memories of my grandmother and that I was able to be raised in a town where I saw her every weekend.  Our family has had so many great times together and I just want her to be around longer so we can have some more.  Maybe that can be seen as selfish, but I just see it as love.


Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Christmas Wrap-Up Random Yumminess

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Rachel  |  January 6, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    I’ll be thinking of you and your family!!

  • 2. juliennejiggs  |  January 6, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    Thanks Rachel, it means a lot.

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