Imagine being a woman, living alone with your three children, and your husband has just passed away, at the age of 30. It’s the end of the 1950’s. Women are housewives. That’s what they do. Cause the husbands work. But what if you have no husband anymore? This is an ode to my grandmother, and to women everywhere, who possess an unimaginable strength within, when they need it.
My grandmother recently passed away. This is of course one of my recent griefs, although this one is a peaceful one. She passed at the age of 87, so she was, well, she was done. But I want to tell you, friends, about her, cause I think her life is more than a blip in the universe. I think it is a small tale of courage, strength and hope, for both you and me.
My grandmother invented her own recipe of muffins, and I can honestly say that they are the best ones I had, ever. I’m not biased here, cause the time I ate them most often, I was 5 – 15 years old, and only biased towards sweet things in general, not relatives. I asked my mother recently about this, and apparently this recipe will stay in our family.
Now, why am I talking about muffins, in all this grief and sadness that she is gone from this world? Simply because it is so in her spirit; she always had to find joy, another way, keep going, no matter what. When my grandfather died young, she faced supporting three children on her own in the 1950’s. She didn’t have the luxury to grieve for any substantial amount of time. She had to become the sole breadwinner.
She disregarded the talk on the town (small town), put on a brave face, and went to work. She got a job as a secretary, at the mining company. This is way up north in my country, where they are still today mining for iron. She was told that, being a woman, she could only expect the lowest wages. When she protested, the employer said “Well, the men here are breadwinners”. And she was… ?
Somehow, she made it work. Much later she remarried a man that was, well, sort of bitter, in my eyes. But I loved him, as a child. I remember climbing on to his lap, full of joy, hugging him, and saying; “Graaaaandpa!” And he’d reply; “Well, I’m not your grandfather. .” (Sort of Darth Vader but without the confirmation of kinship). I’ll leave him at that. What I wanna talk about are my memories of Gran.
This was way up north, but she had a summer cabin. I’m told; now that she passed away, the cabin is going to continue to be in my possession, which is reassuring. (Although I’ll have to share it with several relatives, and one of them a psychopath!).
Anyway. The summers at the cabin are a golden haze for me. The cabin was just on the lake. You could drive around to the other side and reach a beach with a strange reddish sand, and refreshing, northern swimming temperatures. The name of this place I can not fully translate, it’s sort of ancient words. But the meaning of it is something like “Country of Truth“. How does anybody even come up with a name like that?
The last part of the drive up to the cabin was the greatest. Even being a child, I saw the indescribable beauty of the light through the fir forest. I have never after that, seen the same light anywhere else, and I do not have a genuine photo of it, I’ll just describe it as; being on that bumpy dirt road, you could not have been closer to heaven. When my mom told me that some land owners in the surrounding community had chopped down a lot of that forest, I honestly lost a bit of faith in humanity. Cause how can you see something so extraordinarily beautiful, and cut it down?
Another thing I’ll never forget at the cabin, was that Gran had this “tame” crow, (later on, his ‘friends’ would join the party to freeload), that she would feed down in the forest below the cabin. We’d take out our leftovers and put them there, and the family of crows would come at the exact hour, everyday.
This was where I truly learnt about generosity, and not wasting this planet’s resources.
Of course, my Gran was great in many ways, she taught us all about the importance of reading and writing, through scrabble and the crosswords.
She loved music as well, I was going to put a song here but the link did not work. I’ll just say that she played this one song over and over in the car. It was a great song about a man who learned a life lesson while being in love.
I will miss Gran, but I know she is better off on the other side cause she was in too much pain in the end, here on earth. Let us remember though, all that our elders gave to us, while they were here a short moment on earth.
Hugs and strength to all with any kind of sorrow in their life! 💜