It has been an emotional couple of weeks.
I know that I am incredibly fortunate to have made it 31 years in life with 3 out of my 4 biological grandparents still alive. It is not as rare a thing as it used to be, but still, I don't have many peers who can say the same. I had one great-grandparent (by marriage) in the picture when I was a youngster. My children have had three on my side, plus another two on Tom's. That is quite a thing.
Nothing lasts forever. No one lasts forever.
And for the past couple of weeks, my mom has been losing her mom.
My Yaya (Greek for 'grandmother') has always been a big part of my life. Co-matriarch of the Stepford clan (along with my great-aunt Julie), lover of books and movies and animals and the ocean, world traveler, adoring of her grandkids and great-grandkids, always ready to hug you or feed you or both. She used to clutch my hand and gasp when my sister whirled her way onstage in the Nutcracker every year. She and Aunt Julie would regale us with stories every time we visited, cackling delightedly all the while. She almost always had a camera within easy reach, to the chagrin of her sometimes reluctant photographic subjects, but the resulting shelves of photo albums are rather magnificent to behold. Her hugs have a warmth and intensity in a class of their own.
The aggressive cancer that was only so recently discovered in her has given time for some goodbyes without too much time for dwelling. She hasn't had months or years of suffering. These are small but not insignificant comforts. She would have been 80 this year, in May. Objectively speaking, that is a pretty damned good run. Of course, humans tend to have a tough time being objective when dealing with matters of mortality, and I think losing a parent is a difficult thing at any age. I won't even pretend to know what my mom is going through right now, simultaneously ready for everything to be over and also dreading that final phone call.
Yaya, you taught me to not just enjoy but really embrace the things about which we are passionate in life. To hell with anyone who thinks it's silly; let them laugh, let them roll their eyes. Follow your heart and don't let anything stand in your way. Get the hammer, get the nails.
I love you. I'll miss you a lot. But I will never forget you. Vade in pace.