Today, one day before you are officially 5 months old, your great grandmother died. This makes me sad for a number of reasons, though maybe not the ones you think.
Grandma C was a very strong, independent woman. For years and years, she’d travel the world. It was never a surprise to hear “Oh, your grandmother is on safari in Africa.” or “Oh, she’s complaining about the shots she has to get for her journey to India.” She was a code breaker during the war, in the underground tunnels of London. I can only imagine her young and full of fire, shouting out commands to anyone unlucky enough to be around to hear.
Every summer I would see her, at a very special place called Twain Harte Lake. One day, I will take you there and show you the bench that is dedicated to your great grandfather. Someone I never knew, but always heard was a most incredible man. Here’s the thing. He was the key to Grandma C’s happiness. And from what I understand, when he died, a part of her did too.
She battled depression her whole life, and never did anything about it. No doctors, no drugs, no hope. Oh baby girl, there is mental illness in your family. So very much of it. And it scares me. Because I never, ever want you to have to deal with these things, and I know you probably will.
I have fleeting memories of seeing my grandmother happy. Swimming across the lake or watching me dance at my wedding. But many times, I remember her to be a very sad, very angry woman. She’d call me rude and tell me I was the worst child in the world. She’d ignore me completely. And the unforgivable – she’d make my mom cry.
I am sad she is gone – yes – nothing will change the fact that she was my grandmother. But I am also relieved that her suffering – physical, and mental – is over. I hope that Grandma C has finally found her happiness. That maybe the next life will be more fulfilling to her than this one was.