Monday, July 22, 2013

"...may you bloom and grow, bloom and grow forever"

Three weeks ago, my beloved grandmother died.

This weekend, while I was trying to find a simple piece of biographical information, I was stunned to discover her name and dates appearing in a genealogical database. Like she hadn’t just passed away. Like I don’t have a homemade quart of sugar-free-vanilla-ice-cream sitting for her in my freezer. Like she had moved from a warm living to a cold archived memory.

I'll admit, I was a annoyed that this archaic practice of "when a woman's name should appear in print (when she is born, when she is married and when she dies)" had been done to her. But I feel like I can cut History some slack; together, my grandmother and I liked it more than the average person. 

Like Gramma, I appreciate old things – and like her I’m not overly fussy about the reproduction-aesthetic. But while she would collect items, I would prefer to make them. But it never really mattered. 

She would endorse them all. 

Shortly after my parents told me of her unexpected passing, I was completely overwhelmed with all of the powerful memories I have of her. I immediately thought of the aforementioned ice cream I had and coupled it with a song she sang to me more times than I could possibly count (and was one of the ones I taught Henry and Sophia as quickly as I could). The song, Henry Clay Work’s “My Grandfather’s Clock” flooded in and seemed so desperately sad and highly appropriate. I was momentarily panic stricken because I thought that I may be the only person left in the world who knew it (btw, I'm definitely not). I both cried and laughed, because I knew she would. 

Shortly after my grandmother retired from her independent business she became a student of mine. She told me she wanted a patient teacher who wouldn’t make her do scales and other boring things (!); and so I refreshed my grandmother in the art of how to play piano. She was a careful student who held herself to high standards; her favorite song to play was “Edelweiss” and I can still hear her near-perfect version of it. The one where she would just hum over the parts she couldn’t quite play – and ask when/if it was okay to press the damper pedal. And yes, as I type this I am singing it out loud, for her:

Edelweiss, Edelweiss
Every morning you greet me
Small and white, 
clean and bright
You look happy to meet me. 
blossom of snow
May you bloom and grow, 
bloom and grow forever...
Edelweiss, Edelweiss
Bless my homeland forever

The more I think about it, the more humbled I am with her dying so close to the Fourth of July. Growing up, my grandmother was always an advocate for the Greatest Spot for Firework Viewing. This involved moving around chairs and blankets until we managed to procure the most ideal location to watch the show.

Perhaps then my grandmother’s passing right before the holiday was her way of making sure she got the sky-side best seat in the house. 

1 comment:

  1. Jackie, your posts are always so sincere, sweet and bring me to a warm, fuzzy place! Sending you comfort and love, Noreen