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Tuesday, 24 April 2012

My Grandma - Babushka

My Grandma was a special person. She had her own unique ways. Whilst she had times of great hardship and sadness, she also loved her family, enjoyed her garden and built a life with her family here in Australia after many years of difficulty in Russia, and during war times in Germany and through to their departure for Australia.

My mum shared with me this week some notes she made when my grandma had just passed away. I remember mum being particularly affected, having already lost her dad two years before.

Mum shared with me some of her most intimate memories of her mum, she talked about moments that she was proud of,like the adventures they went on as a family with Grandma as children. Times when she was embarrassed by her mum (as a teenager) along with some difficult things like helping deliver breathtakingly bad news when my cousin died in an awful accident rockclimbing,  and some that were much more recent about the shift into being the adult child that needs to provide care for a parent.
I read mum's stories feeling a bit like I was reading something from someone's diary that they wrote for themselves.

Here is my Mum and my Grandma.

It got me thinking about some of the things I remember?

I remember staying over at my Grandparent's place and having breakfast there. Grandma cooked a stack of pancakes that would have been thirty deep. I must have only been about 5-6 years old and stayed with my younger sister. We hardly made a dent in the pile and Grandma kept saying 'eat more!! eat more!!'

I remember Grandma having a beautiful garden, she loved her roses and had so many beautiful colours. I remember calling in during the daylight savings period in Summer whilst I was working at the bank and found Grandma watering her plants in the back yard, the hose connection was spewing water high into the air and up onto their upstairs balcony. I came out to say hello to Grandma and said, 'Hold on hold on, let me fix it for you, the fitting needs to be replaced'

She said, 'no no, it's always done that.' I bought a metal connection for the tap back with me the next day, Grandad helped me. We pulled it all apart and put a new fitting on, He was about 85, he pulled out a knife from the kitchen drawer that he'd sharpened himself and started hacking away at the hose so that we could put the new fittings on. I said 'be careful that looks like it could take your hand apart, he laughed at me and said ' you be careful. . . with a wry smile. ' Grandma tested out the hose, and low and behold, no spewing water.

When I married my husband, I took my wedding dress over to show my grandma. Mum came with me. I tried it on for her. I thought it was a beautiful dress, she said 'No, not finished. . ' wandered off to her room and rifled through some of her things. She reappeared with a brooch my Uncle and Aunt had bought grandma years ago. It was very special to her. It was a Cameo brooch in a gold setting. She held it up to my dress and declared 'Beautiful!!' I wore it to my wedding proudly.

When I fell pregnant with my son, I was about 7 weeks along when I found out about our news. We were heading overseas at 9 weeks. Grandma had been moved into a nursing home as her illness progressed and was very very down and particularly uncomfortable. My mum and I went to see Grandma to share my news that next visit. It was a truly special experience. She was so very excited for us. She had a very excited and surprised look on her face, and said with a broad smile 'Mladanek' 'Mladanek' 'Mladanek'.

She passed away only a few days into my trip overseas. It was so special to be there with my mum to share that news. Grandma had a special place for her grandchildren and great grandchildren. She had 5 children, 13 grandchildren, and 5 great grandchildren when she passed away with another on the way.

1 comment:

  1. tab this is such a beautiful entry, I love the part about your wedding dress. your grandma sounds like a truly wonderful lady! (p.s I could only post as anon... it's Katrina)