Mrs. Klein

2003 Grandma 150-5065_IMG
One of the oddest things about death is that there’s no way to reach that person by their usual phone number. We can call people in Antarctica, in space, in Tehran, on the toilet, or flying through the air. We can’t call people on the phone after they are passed on, however. It’s just another unfortunate, gut-wrenching reality when it comes to death. The feeling of being apart when they aren’t here, that used to be resolved through phoning, just wasn’t solved by Bell and probably never will be by anyone else.

My Grandma, who was 93, passed away today after a difficult week for her. I visited her yesterday, after medical people helped to stabilize her, and she was able to have simple conversations. She had trouble eating yesterday, was literally tired of being old and said as much with, “I’m too old for this.” Her body agreed with her, the following day. She was expertly cared for, and as comfortable as possible in her final years.

Life isn’t easy not being able to see very much, and she had to give up playing card games on the computer, and emailing people (which she started doing in the mid-90s on a Compaq 8086 then IBM 486 my Dad and I helped set up for her and Grandpa). Macular degeneration can take a hike, by the way. She had to move out of her house many years ago, and was getting by at the lodge in Lafleche for a while, walking downtown to get her mail even. This past year she’d had some small strokes and lost some of her short term memory, and had to move to the Foyer in Gravelbourg. Her mother had lived there for a time in the early 1970s.

I’m thinking about a lot right now, obviously. There’s a lot to consider. While I’m sad, I’m also trying to remember that my Grandma had a good, long life that can be celebrated, with plenty of family to remember her fondly. My Grandpa’s death was sudden and not really expected, and this death is sort of the exact opposite. There’s still a numb feeling, having heard the news, and knowing it will hurt as I contemplate everything.

Stories she’s told me stick out right now, and I feel I have to write them down again so I won’t lose them. Like how her parents met (re)hanging laundry; our family’s connection to Napoleon; how her older siblings were told she blew in on the cold February wind. Or how I may have had a different name if she hadn’t been in Africa while I was born, since I was born 100 years after her father’s birthday. She’d have suggested my parents choose my Great-Grandfather’s name, although my Mum wasn’t too keen on that option it turned out anyway.

So now I just have memories of my Grandma. How she enjoyed gardening; our trips to the casino; her vegetable barley soup; how she liked to provide ice cream for her grand kids, and how I got to return the favour by delivering some to her in the Foyer in August. She had a life well lived so it’s better to celebrate her long, fulfilled life than to mourn her death.

ADDED: Online condolences.
Here’s a bit more about being blown in on the wind.

7 responses to “Mrs. Klein

  1. Yes, celebrate a life well lived. My own mother is in a personal care home at 90 and is undergoing the loss of sight and hearing. Take care…

  2. Thanks for such a beautiful tribute to your wonderful grandmother.

    My grandmother died some years ago (and though warm and down to earth insisted on being called grandmother since she didn’t like the sound of “grandma” ;). I still think of her on occasion, and all the little things – and big things – she taught me.

    I’ve no doubt you’ll remember yours just as fondly, and that she’ll continue to shape you in ways you recognize as well as countless ways you don’t even realize.

    Be well as you work through the myriad of emotions in the coming days.

  3. In the L-P, written by a relative.

    Margaret KLEIN
    The way Honore Dumelie told it to his oldest children, it was 40 below and a blizzard wind was howling through the Fir Mountain region of Saskatchewan when suddenly it started blowing babies. He went out and caught one and that is how their younger sister Marguerite entered the world on February 27, 1919. She exited on November 3, 2012, minutes before the Rider game, having decided one supposes that without Darian Durant playing there was no need to stick around any longer. Over the intervening 93 years she excelled at school, studied to become a nurse, took training in pediatric nursing, helped care for her nieces and nephews, married, raised seven kids of her own, helped manage the family farm, consumed by her passion for cards and gardening and spent part of her retirement on an aid project in Africa. All-in-all, not a bad catch for her father. Marguerite quietly shared a number of passions, not the least of which was for the boisterous gathering of her children, grandchildren and great- grandchildren. Like her mother before her, she also loved the Riders. To the end of her life she remained a devoted Catholic and a devout Liberal, never losing her interest in politics. Typically humble, she was none-the-less proud of her accomplishments as a nurse and marvelled to think of the lives she saved or made better. Survived by sons Michael (Edie), Paul (Carol), Dan, Gerry (Viviane) and daughters Karen Adams (Neil), and Jo-Anne Rex (Brian), 19 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren. She is also survived by her brother Gerard and sister-in-law Betty Klein. She was predeceased by her husband Willy, daughter Judy, and by brothers George and Gilbert and sister Madeline.
    There will be a prayer service for her at 7:30 Friday, November 9, 2012 and a service celebrating her life on Saturday, November 10, at 2 p.m.- both in Lafleche’s St. Radegonde Church. Interment will take place at the Lafleche Roman Catholic Cemetery. Memorial donations in memory of Marguerite to the Canadian Cancer Society, 61B Ross St. W., Moose Jaw, SK S6H 2M2 and Foster Parent Plan, 95 St. Clair Ave. W., Suite 1001, Toronto, ON M4V 3B5.

  4. Some stories from today were good, including one where Grandma walked downtown to the Co-op and was too tired for the walk back with her food. She asked a person at the store if she would be able to get a ride, and the woman obliged. The woman she asked was my parents’ neighbour, Sherry.

    Another time, Rabeya was driving with Grandpa in the Fargo, and he suddenly pulled over. He went to the ditch and picked up some mushrooms. He gave them to Rabeya to give to Grandma to make soup, while he was outside. Grandma took the mushrooms, and not being able to identify them, threw them away and made her usual mushroom soup instead. Later at lunch, Grandpa was remarking on how good the soup was, and Grandma just winked at Rabeya who knew what had gone on.

    I don’t have many stories where the central character in them is Grandma, even though I spent so many of my holidays and some weekends in her house, growing up. I think that’s because of the sort of person she was; reserved, and a coordinator of organized chaos running around her; Laid-back, and adaptable, often in good spirits, sometimes with good spirits (rye) or even homemade wine. She’d work in the background, and with the adults, to make sure the kids had a great time. She was certainly an eager card player, and an expert grandmother and great-grandmother. She was exactly how I expected a grandma to be, and in this world, an ordinary grandma is most precious.

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