My Grandmother passed away this afternoon. I received the news via a Facebook message from my Dad. I then heard it again through a What’s App message through my cousin. I heard it a third time from my Uncle through an email. I thought about how my Grandma probably didn’t even know what these methods of technology were. She was, after all, 83.
I didn’t cry when I received the news. I was at the hospital with one of my kids at the time, and was concentrating on helping him. That morning I had been informed by his cousin that he had been sick for two weeks, and his family hadn’t taken him to hospital. He is an orphan. I quickly went with our Social Worker to pick him up and take him to the hospital. I realised that even
though I wasn’t there to support my family during the tough times, which is what I was most upset about, at least they had each other. Many people have no one.
My Grandmother was one of a kind. A crazy Burmese lady, pretty much. Now I am older I realise how much I take after her. We both have the same warped, dirty, sense of humour, and are quick with the one liners. One instance which pops into my memory was when my cousin, Jade, and I went to visit her at her nursing home a couple of years ago. We were playing bingo with her and her ‘friends’ (well, the people who said they were her friends, but she always disagreed), and whenever the nurse called out ‘Number two’, Granny would say ‘two is a shit number’. We had no idea what she was going on about, until later that night it dawned on us – two IS a shit number!
Granny wasn’t good at housework. Neither was I. We would rather pay someone else to do it for us. She WAS, however, good at doing her laundry – usually twice a day. I wasn’t – I would always get my Mum to do it at home, or my Aunty Char to do it for me when I lived in Sydney.
Granny also had a lot of persistence and commitment – she did manage to get a Great Aunt of ours to immigrate into Australia when the odds were against her. She also used to win every argument she had with us, mostly because she would threaten to “thrash the lot of us”.
Granny raised six kids. Well, her kids would sometimes dispute this, saying they had ‘help’ in India, then my Mum and Aunty Junie did a lot of the work in Australia, but they still loved and admired her for who she was and what she did. Except her cooking. She couldn’t cook. Much like me. One time I was staying at her place and I decided to make cheese on toast, so I put cheese on toast and popped it into the toaster. One ruined toaster later, and I wasn’t allowed to stay over again.
Although sometimes it didn’t seem like it, Granny cared about us more than anything else. She more often than not didn’t know
how to show it, as I don’t know how to either, but she would do anything for us. One time I slept over at her house and was very sick, and fell asleep on her couch. She kept prodding my foot, which at first I thought was her trying to annoy me, but later I realised was making sure I was still alive.
Oh, and who could forget her dedication to her religion. Granny was an Anglican, and I am a Catholic, much to her disgust. Every
time I saw her she would call me a “bloody Catholic”, so I would retort and call her a “bloody Anglican”.
And, of course, Granny was always willing to stand up for her kids. I’ll never forget the first time I went to the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gra, to watch my Uncle in it. She stayed up late and proudly said to the people around us when we saw my Uncle in only his underwear on the parade float, “that’s my son!”. Then there was the time her
neighbours kids were being mean to us and throwing water bombs over the fence. Well, she phoned their parents and gave them a mouthful, abruptly putting an end to the fighting.
I think I will cry later on. Not for the loss of my wonderful (and last) grandparent, but from laughing about all the wonderful times we had together. These memories are usually stored away until something like this happens, and once again, it is a reminder not to take people or experiences for granted, as eventually, they will pass on.
Rest in peace, Granny. I will always love you.