Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Walking by the river in Canton, NY

I've been thinking about my Grandmother a lot lately. Its been weighing on my mind that I never really got to know her, despite us spending so much time together. There was a time when I spent 2 hours with her every day at the nursing home after work. I used to sit with her as she had her dinner and try to bring some vitality and life in the the room she almost never left. I would hang pictures, sing to the birds, and ask her questions about the adventure and good times of her life. But still, looking back now, I never knew her the way I wanted to and now I miss her so much.
When I was young she lived in Canton, NY near my uncle Fred and I only saw her during the summers we spent in the Adirondacks. While we didn't see each other often,we used to have a regular correspondence, me writing to her of school and sports, and she telling me about her garden and other benign things one discusses with a 10 year old girl. I saved her letters, every one of them, even the birthday cards and little notes. Just a few weeks ago while I was at my parents house I found a letter from her dated December 1994. The letter was so bleak and full of sadness that it made my heart heavy to think of how alone she must have felt when she wrote it. In the letter she described a long and hard winter in the mountains, the pain of getting older, the loneliness of losing people around you. Reading it now, after she is gone, makes me miss her so much. It makes me realize the depth of her person and how I never really got to know Zelma, I only saw the grandmother she was to me. I wish that I had more time with her before she became so ill and went to the nursing home. I wish I could call her now and tell her how much she meant to me and how often she is in my thoughts. I wish I could tell her how sorry I am that I wasn't there at the end, that we didn't have a chance to say goodbye. I wish I had been better to her when I had the chance and I hope she wouldn't be disappointed in the life I'm leading now. She was such a strong and independent woman, I hope that she was able to see a little part of herself in me. I hope I can live up to the person she was.