Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Family


At the risk of sounding depressing, I thought I'd post more of my "Grandma (aka Lola) posts".  I don't want to keep posting about my lola's death and have you think I'm dwelling too much on things.  I'm fine...for the most part. I have my moments.  I'm trying to convince myself that I know this is best for her and that she is no longer suffering.  I'm trying.

It's been a week since she died and almost two weeks since I last saw her and held her hand.

My last memory of her alive was me having some quiet time with her in her ICU room. I remember holding her hand, praying with her, and telling her "Mommy, you know I love your, right?". She nodded. I could tell how tired she was.  Tired of fighting for her life.  Tired of trying to stay alive for us. She just needed to finally be able to rest in peace.

I've also been trying to find out how best to deal with death and dying with my three year old.  She's been taking it pretty badly and has been asking demanding to see her great-lola again.  I get the tears and the "I don't want my great-lola to be dead! I want to see her NOW!" and it is heartbreaking.

Searching for info on "bereavement and children" has proved to be a little overbearing. There's just so much info out there, I don't know where to begin.

Since Lola's death my cousins and I have been corresponding back and forth on Facebook, sharing memories of our grandparents and of our childhood.  We're a tightly-knit family because of my grandparents.

I remember being in elementary school and high school and friends would say, "Wow. You hang out with your cousins?! I don't even know my cousins."  Truth be told, my cousins were all like siblings to me. They still are. When I lived in Montreal, we'd see each other all the time and hang out together. I always wished that my own children would have the same kind of relationship with their family that I had when I was a growing up.

Family is EVERYTHING


That's what my lola taught us. 

One thing about my grandma is that is wrote down everything.  She kept notebooks of all the family birthdays, wedding anniversaries, special occasions. She did all her bookkeeping "old school style". She even kept a log of each time she spoke to us on the phone.  She'd write the date, time, and which family member she spoke to. 

I was leafing through the recipe book my Maid of Honour put together for me for my bridal shower, and came across a few sheets of paper that were tucked into one of the sleeves.  I cried when I realized they were my grandmother's favourite recipes.  My grandparents were both fabulous cooks and food, as most people know, is a huge part of the Filipino culture.  Food is a huge part of celebration.  Food brings people together.  Food is shared with friends, family, and strangers. 

I poured over Lola's recipes of breaded shrimp, Caldereta, Sinigang, Garlic Ribs, and so many others.  I almost forgot that when she was last on the Island visiting us, she had taken the time to write out by hand all her special recipes for me.  Looking at my grandmother's beautiful penmanship and thinking of the time it had taken her to do that for me just makes me smile...and cry.

I think I'll celebrate her life this week and make some of those special recipes of hers.

13 comments:

SKIP TO MALOU said...

Hi Christine,
No you are not dwelling on your lola's passing too much. Don't even think that you are. It's a process that you have to go through. I lost my dad two years ago and I stopped writing for 3 months because I couldn't find the words to explain how I felt. When hubs lola died last month, I knew how to handle grieving better.

There are so many posts i want to share with you just to tell you that it's ok for you to feel that way. I was worst haha. But know that your Lola will always be with you. Bask in those precious memories you had with her. Be guided by the wisdom that she shared... that way you will always keep them alive in YOU! I will share what I wrote with you if you have the time to read.
Im so glad to "meet" you on twitter. I'm extending my sympathies and my big tight :::HUGS:::.
Malou

Mom vs. the boys said...

oh that penmanship is just gorgeous, I'm embarrased to say mine looks more like a school child's lol my son was 3 when his grandma died but we didn't really get into too much with him. we only saw them a few times a year and the next time we went it was just grandpa and he's never really asked much. He knows that grandma is in heaven and just thought that was fine, too young to really get it lol I guess we just got lucky, or maybe your little can see how upset you are and is mirroring your feelings. It must be really hard for all of you.

Tammy said...

Your not dwelling your remembering!Celebrate and share how well those beautiful recipes turn out! Take the time you need to remember!

Little Miss Kate said...

It is those happy memories that keep us going during the hard times!
My Grandma was a great cook as well, and this Christmas will be the first one that I will make her famous meat pies without her being here with me. It is months away but still hard to think about.
Just wait until you can make those recipes with your DD, and share a little of Lola with her.

Jodi Shaw said...

There is no time limit on grieving. Christine, you are brave and it's great you are sharing your memories of Lola. It's awesome also you will bake in her honor, cooking things that remind you of her. She taught you to love each other, and so carrying that on with your family is the best way. But it's okay to cry, it's okay to talk about it, it's okay to write about it. Dwelling sometimes is what helps us get through things and realize how to get well and feel better. :) Thank you for posting this.

Insane Mamacita said...

Wow, what a wonderful surprise to find those recipes she left for you. :)

And you are not dwelling. I've lost a lot of people in my life and you take however much time you need to grieve. I miss my grandparents and mom everyday.

I too grew up with most of my cousins in the same small town as me and they are most definitely like siblings to me. I also had hoped my boys would grow up close to their cousins. But its just not working out that way.

Mommy Moment said...

These memories are so precious. so neat that she wrote down every phone call. My grandma remembers all the birthdays of her classmates from elementary school, it is amazing to me. I'm glad you will always have your memories, photos, and recipes {hugs}.

Nicole said...

I don't think you are dwelling at all. It is so important to reflect, remember and celebrate Lola and all the memories.

Multi-Testing Mommy said...

Talking about happy memories is always a positive way to deal with loss.

Have you had your daughter draw a picture or her? Or you could make a photo book (maybe use Elephoto.ca or something?) together - what a great way to spend time together and to share memories.

If you want me to look for some books on death and loss for young children, I'd be happy to do that for you!

Hugs and more hugs - there are no words I can say to make anything better. Please know that I am here for you if you need anything at all! Anything!

Canadian Dad said...

I have a very close relationship with my cousins as well. We are all boys and all around the same age, so we've bonded together like brothers for our whole lives. It's nice to know that you have so much family support when things get tough.

Christine MommyMatter said...

Talk about her ALL you want. I too lost my Grandma just last summer, and still to this day am having a hard time with it. Any time the kids go visit my Grandpa with me, they question and wonder. We've taught them Grandma has become their Angel and is always looking over them. This does leave them looking in the sky a lot, but it is awesome to see them looking for her. Makes me tear up that they are thinking about her at such a young age.

Stay strong! Write whatever you want. It does help. I wrote endless posts about my Grandma, but only ever posted one. The rest I kept for my nights I just need to read about her.

caninecologne said...

What a thoughtful and heartfelt post. I think it's cool that your lola wrote everything down. What a great legacy that she left (her advice and her recipes).

Christine said...

Canine:
Thank you. Yes, they are something I will treasure forever :) By the way, sorry I haven't called or e-mailed about your trip. It's been pretty crazy! Guess I'd better get with it since you'll be here in a few weeks!!!!

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City girl moves to the country, falls in love, and marries a farmer. She tries to incorporate her city ways with her new country lifestyle and blogs to keep in touch with friends, family & students who live far, far away :) Can this city girl go country? Watch as she learns all sorts of exciting things about life on the farm and in a small rural community. *UPDATE* We are now parents! Our baby girl was born on Nov. 11, 2008 (at 28 weeks gestation- 12 weeks premature, but she's quite the trooper)!!!
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