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Who’s to complain?

February 3, 2010
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My grandmother passed away this week. And although I haven’t seen her in too many years to even mention, I have such vivid memories of such a loving and selfless woman. She was the grandma that made fresh bread — in this very odd two sided toaster that I thought was the coolest thing ever when I visited her home in Newfoundland when I was 12. She had 11 children, and countless grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and every Christmas — until arthritis slowed her hands — she made mittens and scarfs for each of her children, her children’s children, and THEIR children’s children. I remember thinking that she must have to start knitting on Jan 1 in order to get them all done! But she did. And I looked forward to that tattered box, labeled “From Nanny,” even though I was in my late 20’s, raising my own kids.

She was such a special woman. And all that knew her say she was a saint. She never complained. On her way to the hospital last year, after falling ill, she was heard saying, “I hope this doesn’t take too long, I have a lot to do, yet.” She lived a tough life, didn’t travel the world or expect things to be handed to her. She led a simple life. She worked hard.  She enjoyed each day. She helped wherever she could.  She loved her family and she was loved.

Going through my purse yesterday, just after hearing the news, I found a poem tucked in my wallet, that my mother-in-law had cut out from the newspaper many years ago. We found the scrap of paper, the words to the poem faded away in places, when going through her belongings after her passing late last year. I remember thinking at the time, how funny it was that she would keep the poem. But as I reflect on growing old, maybe this is what I need to remember, so I can be remembered as my grandmother is being remembered today.

My children are grown now and I have wonderful grandchildren. I love them all, but please, God, let me remember that I have lived, loved and enjoyed this life. Do not let me take away from their enjoyment by complaining about every ache and pain. I have earned them all.

Please keep me from mentioning my joints, stiff knees, poor eyesight and anything else that isn’t as good as it once was. let me remember that I have enjoyed a full and wonderful life, and have been blessed in so many ways. Now is not the tiem for me to begin complaining.

Please let my mouth be closed while my ears are open to hear the fun they are having. Let me remember that I am still setting an example for them and that if I keep quiet, they will forever think that I never had a single ache or pain in my life and I miraculously escaped the ills of old age.

They will, in later years, remember me with pleasure and say “I wish I had her genes. She never had a thing wrong with her!” That will be my legacy!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Linda Spear permalink
    February 3, 2010 1:36 pm

    Gwen, I’m so glad you have this wonderful momento to remember your grandmother. Not only does it sooth your pain, but it will be a treasure to your children as they grow older and have memories of their youth and you. Generational love is a remarkable thing….it keeps you sure of yourself and your nature and reassures your children of the goodness of their ancestry.

    Please frame it so it is a modern day message for all of you.




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