Thursday, June 24, 2010


I knew all four of my grandparents when i was growing up. I have a Grandma and Grandpa - my Dad's parents - and a Grannie and Grandpa - my Mum's parents.

Grandma and Grandpa were what I would call the more "traditional" grandparents - and although I cannot remember my Grandma ever actually baking cookies, she sure knew how to buy them & feed us junk food. My Dad's parents built the cabin and my brother and I spent almost all summer, every summer, until I was 16, with them at the cabin. The year I was 17, my Grandpa English died.

That year I dated someone for a few months shortly after my Grandpa died, and, in that boyfriend's presence, I remember having my first real, honest to god CRY over losing my Grandpa. He made it feel, well, SAFE to actually let go and cry over losing my Grandpa. As a matter of fact, I think we were in his parents big red car - I forget what kind it was - the car, I mean. He just held onto me while I lost control of my emotions and cried myself out.

Bless his very wise (17-year-old at the time) heart for that. He is still one of my very best friends and one of my favourite people in the world.

This week I lost my Mum's mother - my Grannie.

My Mum's parents were decidedly NOT traditional grandparents. They were both in the military during WWII - Grannie enlisted to drive trucks - not even knowing how to drive! Her story of her Dad teaching her to drive is one of my best memories of her - she laughed like she was 19 all over again when she told me that one.

My Mum's parents were at the very forefront of transcendental meditation, were co-founders of the Vivaxis Energies Research International Society (V.E.R.I.S.) went on teaching trips into the US for a number of years with V.E.R.I.S and were two of the most open-minded people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.

My Mum's parents were very young and busy when my brother and I were young and so we didn't see them as often as we saw my Dad's folks. That didn't mean that we were any less loved for it.

When I moved to the Channel Islands I finally got to start to know my Mum's parents better. As an adult, I mean. When I moved there, everyone here went out and changed their long distance plans to ensure we could still talk as much. And talk we did - much more so that when I lived in Ontario to be honest. The first time Grannie called me there she told me how thrilled she was to hear the quick ring-ring that she hadn't heard since she was a girl. We talked for at least an hour every single time.

I was concerned that, once I moved back to the island, those calls would thin out - but they didn't. Just last week we spoke for at least an hour. I didn't know it would be my last time talking with her - but I guess by the conversation I maybe should have.

We talked about the garden - which has been the bane of her existence for the last few years - she swore up and down that this was its last chance (for the fourth year in a row) and that if it didn't step up and produce she was giving up on it for good. I didn't believe her this year any more than I did last year.
(smiling through my tears now)

We talked a little about how things are coming along here and how everyone is doing.

And we talked about grandparents - I think that she needed to hear from me just how much I have liked having her as a grandmother - and I hope she knew then (and knows now) just how much better she made my world by taking part in it. I told her I loved her - she told me the same back, and that was the last thing I heard her tell me.

She had an initial stroke Saturday night and then Tuesday morning another, much more severe one. I was at the hospital - had arrived around 10:30, I think. At 12 or so Mum suggested i take Grandpa down for some lunch and, within 5 minutes of Grandpa and me leaving the room, she passed away.

When we came back upstairs we were met by my cousin Lynn who told us what had happened and then, looking Grandpa straight in the eye, she told him that in her experience (and Lynn was a Geriatric nurse until she retired) that she has seen it time and time again. As soon as the person who means the most leaves the room, they let themselves slip away - wanting to spare them seeing it happen. Makes sense to me. And they were the best of friends their whole married life - all 66 or so years of it.

So the day before yesterday, 23 years later, I lost my second grandparent. Believe me, I know how extremely lucky I am - I am so grateful to still have two of them. I will cherish every day i have left with them and, when it's time, I'll do my best to be strong and filled with grace when I have to say goodbye to them.

Right now, tonight, though, I could sure use having that (now 40 year-old) best and dearest friend here to hold me while I cry myself out.

I'll miss you Grannie.

Eunicé Norah Henderson Jepson
1923 - 2010

1 comment:

  1. All our love and condolences to you and your family during this difficult time. If there is anything we can do, please let us know. ((hugs))