It’s been just over a month since my Grandma passed away and I’m still having a hard time believing that I won’t ever be able to wrap my arms around her and give her a big hug. My Grandma, like me, was a small woman – small in stature, not in personality. I would tell her that she was so small I’d like to put her in my pocket and take her back to Vancouver with me.
I miss her. And to be completely honest with you I have been very emotional since I left Newfoundland. I’m struck by moments of just so much longing. I long for my family, for my Mom, my brother, Jeff, my Aunts & Uncles, my cousins, my Grandma… During those times I have to take a deep breath and just remind myself how incredibly lucky I am to have such a loving, supportive family even if it feels like they are on the other side of the world.
A couple of weeks before my Grandma passed away my Mom was in Newfoundland for my cousin Dawn’s wedding and Grandma was doing great. She had been living in a nursing home for the last couple of years of her life but she was happy and healthy. While Mom was there she and her siblings got together to clean out Grandma’s house. It had been unoccupied for a long time and they felt it was time to clear things out. I was talking to my Aunt Marg one evening while my Mom was there and she asked if there was anything of Grandma’s I might want to have. The only thing I could think of was her knitting needles. Grandma was the one who taught me how to knit and one of my most favourite memories of spending time with her was one Boxing Day when we sat in her front room and she taught me how to knit mittens. As we got started, casting on our stitches, I asked her, “How did you meet Grandpa?” and she talked for the rest of the day. I heard most of her life story that day and I replay it in my head often, I never want to forget the details.
Aunt Marg put aside the knitting needles for me and my Mom took them back to Ontario with her and was going to put a package together to send to me. We didn’t know at the time that we’d all be together in a couple of weeks to support each other while we said good-bye to Grandma.
I now have the knitting needles here with me. I love knowing that Grandma touched them, and knowing that among the collection are the needles I used when she taught me and while we she told me stories about her life. She was a very practical person and she seems to have passed that trait on. Given the chance to have anything of hers, I chose something I’d use.
This past Sunday I got up, had breakfast then went into the studio. I was making more pieces for my Dragonfly collection and thinking to myself how Grandma would not be happy about me working on Sunday. She was a religious person and did not believe in working on Sundays. She wouldn’t even knit on a Sunday. I smiled to myself then felt that pang of sadness. I took a deep breath and grabbed a paint brush to work on a clay dragonfly and realized that I was using one of my Mom’s old ceramic tools.
My Mom and my Aunt Marlene (who I called Auntie) used to have their own ceramic business. They ran a shop where people could come in and glaze their own pots. A few years ago my Mom dug out her old paint brushes and tools and gave them to me and I use them often.
In that moment as I held Mom’s brush and thought about Grandma’s knitting needles I felt a connection to the great, creative women in my life. The sadness dissipated and once again I was left feeling so grateful to have the family that I have. I am truly blessed.