Sunday, April 03, 2011

Memories of Grandma

There's an episode of Grey's Anatomy, after George's father passes away, when he says, "I don't know how to exist in a world where my dad doesn't."

That's sort of how I felt after losing my grandma last week.

Both of my grandfathers passed away before I was born, and my Granny Young died when I was two years old. So for me, there has really only ever been one grandparent in my life. And she was a very big part of my life.

During the Reverend's homily in Grandma's honour at her funeral, she used this word to describe her: Constant.

And that's exactly what she was. Always there, the matriarch of a big family, holding us altogether like glue, through the good times and the bad, and so beloved by all of her grandchildren, and also as "G.G." to Caden and Danica.

She was very special to all of us. I don't feel I have the words to properly honour Grandma on this blog, so instead, I'll share with you the Memories of Grandma that my cousin Paula put together as an insert for the church bulletin. Paula contacted all of the cousins after Grandma passed away on March 27, asking us for a little memory of Grandma, and this is what we came up with - and I think we captured all of the wonderful things that made Grandma mean so much to us: her love of gardening, her love of baking, and her delightfully silly sense of humour...

Matthew - My memories of Grandma were all great! I had the honour of being Grandma's first grandchild...arriving on her 60th birthday!

Kara - My favourite memories of Grandma are of her tending to her garden. When I was younger, the garden was an enterprise all its own, with Grandma growing far more than one person could ever possibly need. As Grandma grew older, the garden was down-sized a little each year, much to her chagrin, but she still delighted in it. Her garden even became a delay tactic if you were leaving - "Oh, but you haven't seen the garden yet. You must come see it before you leave." Now I have my own garden and I think Grandma taught me the simple pleasure of working in God's earth.

Erin - Some of the best memories I have of Grandma Schock all have to do with food: yummy tea biscuits, homemade buns, her gingersnap cookies and not to mention the white cookies with icing and sprinkles on top! No wonder I love sweets so much. I used to love her patience when she would make us breakfast when we happened to stay overnight...yummy toast with cheese whiz and brown sugar, cut into perfect little strips like at a church tea - made with love!

David - My fondest memories of my Grandma will be the little things that made her happy...a nice tidy yard, the first flowers in the spring, or a drive over the Brule Hill. It does not take much to live a long happy life.

Paula - Having grown up in the city, I fondly recall Grandma teaching me the country ways...picking strawberries, making jam, visiting the chickens at John's next door. When visiting Bruce Schock's farm, she showed my brother how to milk a cow - I was happy she let me off the hook for that one! I will always remember Grandma's cheerful personality. She had a warm smile, a chipper "hello!", and had a way of looking at the good in everything. I can only hope to live as long as she did with such a wonderfully positive outlook on life.

Jillian - Going to Grandma's for lunch on warm summer days was always something to look forward to. I absolutely loved sitting out on the summer porch, watching the hummingbirds at the feeder, and just waiting for the plate of cookies to come out. Whether you were staying for a while or just stopping in for a quick visit, she always offered a cookie - in fact, I think she was famous for them. It didn't seem to matter if someone else followed the exact same recipes - for me, they never tasted as good as Grandma's!

Chad - It is hard to think of Grandma and not have food come to mind. Of course the vegetables from her garden were delicious, but it's what came after the vegetables at dinner that caught my attention. She introduced me to some of my favourite desserts...ginger snaps, rhubarb dipped in sugar, and all different kinds of squares. One time she even made me a butterscotch pie. After dessert I would hit the old swing in her yard to burn off some of the sugar, but despite my efforts, I always came home from Grandma's a few pounds heavier.

Luke - One of my favourite memories of Grandma takes me back to when I was in Grade 11, playing for my high school basketball team. Grandma would pick me up after practice and we'd go back to her house for supper. I remember one particular evening she picked me up and on our way home she drove exceptionally slow, about 20 km/hr. It took us quite a while to get to her house, and when we finally pulled into her driveway, she looked at me and said, "Now that's the speed everyone should drive." I still smile when I think of that.

At the bottom Paula added this: Our loving thoughts and prayers are with Grandma and our cousin Jeffrey, who passed away last summer. We know they will be sharing some "teasing" moments on the other side. Jeffrey loved to tease Grandma and always added fun to her visits in Sand Point. We will greatly miss both of them in our family circle.

Grandma with her namesake, great-granddaughter Danica Hazel

In the end, we could be grateful for a long life well-lived. I remember doing a project in elementary school where we were told to write down all of our wishes for the future. I think I was in Grade 3 or 4, and at the time, one of my wishes was for my grandma to live forever. And she pretty well well did. She had suffered memory loss in the past few years, and only since Christmas had she become weak and we saw her health start to deteriorate. That is remarkable to say she would have turned 96 in June.

I learned so much from her, and I will miss her dearly.

I would like to extend my thanks to so many of my friends and family members who offered their condolences, came to the funeral home, sent cards, flowers, and shared words of sympathy. You truly did make a difficult week a little easier to get through.

Rest peacefully, Grandma...until we meet again.


Ashley said...

Awww Jill, I am sooo sorry to hear of your loss. Your grandmother sounds like a fabulous woman who lived a life rich in love. Your blog post is beautiful and I'm sure she would love it.


Stacy said...

When I went to the wake and got the little information card, I just loved her name...Hazel was such a strong but gentle name for a grandma!
She will be missed for sure...and Luke's comment really made me laugh!

Nicole said...

Awe, I'm so sorry to hear this! I know she was loved by all of you!

Lindsay said...

What a wonderful post full of precious memories of your beloved grandmother!! xo

Nancy said...

I thought the "Memories" were a wonderful way to honour your Grandma. I have commented to your Mom that I thought your Grandma had one of the most beautiful faces I have seen. I will always think of her busy hands, helping make cookies, folding napkins at soup & sandwich, reaching out to shae my hand at church. She was a remarkable lady and Jill, you are carrying on her lovely qualities.