That's really scary. I've accomplished much, gotten too little sleep, and spent too much time working...but there's been a lot of fun, too.
Now, I face a new calendar year, new challenges, new adventures, and new sorrows.
Back in September I wrote the following piece about my Great-Grandma Anne. I didn't ever publish it here, or send it around, or anything, as it just didn't quite seem like the time.
The time is now. Grandma Anne just turned 100 on the 27th, but missed her own party due to broken ribs, an outbreak of influenza, and pneumonia. She's gotten more and more tired, confused, and sick. We think the end might be near, and while she's lived a long and full life, we want her to stick around in our own.
September 8, 2012
I’m sitting outside, wrapped in a gift from one of my Most Important People…my great grandmother. This afghan is one of my favourite things…a safe thing…a “I Am Special” thing. I love this blanket.
My great-grandma is nearly 99 (according to the Canadian government), or 100 (according to her mother’s Bible). She’s almost a century old! She has had great loves in her life, two husbands (who, coincidentally had the same first name!), six children, 17 grandchildren, 44 great-grandchildren (at the last count of which I am aware), and 3 great-greats. We are so very blessed to have her!
As I understand it, my great-grandma never completed the fourth grade. She started working, taking care of younger nieces and nephews, travelling to Canada, and working for others. She raised her children well. She has supported her entire family…and many “practically family” members as we have completed many different endeavours. Whenever any of us was going on some fantastic educational trip, or a mission project, she helped with ticket costs. She told us she’d always wanted to be a missionary, but didn’t have the chance. When I became a teacher, she told me she’d always wanted to be a teacher, but didn’t have the chance. When I was teaching overseas as a missionary, she sent me money for stamps, so that I could send her letters. My great-grandma prays faithfully for her entire family, grieves when things go wrong, and rejoices when things go well.
My great-grandma didn’t stop making pierogies and doughnuts by the hundreds (sometimes thousands!) until she was well into her 80s, and regrets that her room in a nursing home doesn’t have a kitchen for her to keep going. We regret it, too!
She’s losing her memory now, and feels terribly that she can’t do as much or remember as many people as she used to.
She tells us that she’s not sure where she is, that they treat her well, but she wants to go home.
She tells us that she’s not sure what she’s supposed to do anymore…and then will turn around and say that she spent over 90 years getting up early every morning, and no one is going to stop her from sleeping the day away if she wants to!
She doesn’t always remember our names, but she’s never forgotten that my Mom and I are teachers, my sister is a nurse, my brothers are a firefighter and a paramedic, and my Dad is a doctor. She doesn’t always know how we belong to her, but she is proud of us.
She tells us that she hopes she never has to live through losing one of her children…and we don’t remind her that she already has.
She loves to meet the new babies in the family, and everyone treasures every moment. I pray that my own babies will get to meet her, and worry that I won’t have my own family before we lose her. I envy the family members who have had these opportunities…to have her at their weddings, meeting their children…
I hope to be just like my great-grandma. I want to be as wonderful a missionary as she has always been. I want to be as excellent a teacher as she has been for nearly a century. I want to love my family so much that I never want to stop doing things for them and with them.
I want my own children, grandchildren, and as many greats as I get to see, to know that I loved them…and hope that they will see me as one of their Most Important People…just like my great-grandma is for me.