It’s International Women’s Day, but it’s also the anniversary of the passing of my Grandmother. This year, I choose to honor one over the other. Obviously, I’m going to choose my family.
My Grandmother helped raise my brother and I, and she did so happily. She lived directly across the street, and was a solid fixture in our daily lives after my Grandfather passed away. I never had babysitters or strangers around me; there was always a family member present, and for the first half of my life, that person was almost always my Grandmother.
There was never a time she was not present for a graduation, a birthday, a holiday, gymnastics, various performances, etc. She paid for my voice lessons, and was the first person to offer up ANYTHING she deemed necessary for her grandchildren. We were always a priority. She attended everything my brother and I participated in. She took us to movies, museums, parades, and anything cultural and/or artistic. She kept your favorite ice cream in the freezer and always had matzo ball soup on hand for when we were sick. I spoke to her almost daily.
When my Grandmother called to say she’d been diagnosed with cancer, I didn’t believe her the way I would now. I was in denial. I also didn’t know half as much about it as I do now, and for that I live with terrible regret.
I remember precisely what she said to me three weeks before she passed away. Despite being her only Granddaughter, I didn’t receive a lot of compliments, but that day, it was as if she was seeing me for the first time. I did my best to keep my promises to her, but alas, I failed on all accounts. I honored her the best way I knew how, and I still do. I remember everything with such clarity that it often haunts me.
I’m sorry, Grandma, that I could not keep my mother alive, “keep the family together”, or be the “peacekeeper”. I’m not sorry for everything I did right, though. Unfortunately, not everything was within my control.
My brother & I loved our Grandmother to pieces. No matter what, we know where we came from and how we got where we are. I know she still looks after all of us. Always with us, always in our hearts, always loved.
Pokoysya s mirom, milaya babushka. Vy navsegda v nashikh serdtsakh.
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