Today I found out that my grandmother died in June. In June, and I only found out about it today… I would have probably never known if I didn’t need to make a phone call and ask an entirely different thing.
My grandmother and I never had that cozy, warm, grandma-granddaughter relationship. I remember her very little since I was a kid and we got reunited when I was 14 years old. We played Scrabble for three summers in a row. She didn’t like to lose at Scrabble, but she made me laugh. She told me the secret of making the best jam in the world. I never tried it. I used to watch her jump, trying to grab cherries from the cherry tree behind the barn. I would roll in the corn cobs and laugh, covering my mouth with both hands so that she wouldn’t know I watched her. I loved studying and listening to her for those three summers, telling her stories about the years we missed from our lives.
But then time, life and many other circumstances separated us again. I went to university, then got married and had a daughter, Ephia. Once in a while, I would ask how she was doing and think that she is a great-grandma now. The other circumstances were always stronger than my need to see her. I got used to knowing that she is there, somewhere, well and healthy. When Ephia would ask about my grandparents, I would sometimes forget and would reply that my grandparents died. My husband would always remind me, and I would smile, and sometimes share the story of those three summers with Ephia. “Now you really don’t have any more grandparents.” my husband said today, and I swallowed a giant knot of sadness, fury and a sense of confusion.
I don’t know who my grandmother truly was. My mom told me she was a great teacher. My uncles and godmother told me she was a very elegant and well-read woman. I know she was a poet from the dozens of poems I found hidden in the family house, there, where the cherry tree was. I know she was a romantic from the letters she wrote and also hid in drawers. I know she was my father’s mother, someone’s aunt, someone’s sister. I know she was my grandmother, and I was stripped of the simple information that she died.
Time to let go and make the best jam in the world.