Where do I even begin. I guess the easy stuff. She’s French-Canadian, white, about 5’4″ tall, with a big overbite. She wears dentures and hates the dentist. She is 74 years old. She has had 1 stillbirth, and then had my dad and following him, his sister. My grandmother has has breast cancer and has had to have a double mastectomy. Her mother and her aunt also had breast cancer. Supposedly she was tested for a hereditary gene, and was found not to have it, so thank goodness for that.
She speaks fluent Canadian French, she was born and raised in a French Canadian town outside of Quebec, and moved to British Columbia at some point where she lived in a French community as a part of a larger city. She married my grandfather, also a French Canadian, Metis man. He has the features of the indigenous, with dark hair, darker complexion, and dark, nearly black eyes. He passed these features onto my aunt, his daughter, but my dad, his son, looks like his mother. Blonde hair and blue eyes.
I earliest memories of my Grandmother are sweet. She loves children and as such, I was treated well by her. While she could be stern and bossy, she was animated with us kids around and loved to show us how to do crafts and to be creative. She herself is an accomplished artist, as well as a musician, sewer, computer user, and she is somewhat savvy in the kitchen. I recall several holidays where there were complaints of dry turkey. I typically smothered mine in gravy and have always preferred tough, chewy meat. So it depends on your own tastes I suppose. I have never disliked the food she made me. I still enjoy porridge and natural peanut butter, and lamb. All things I had while at their house as a kid. Perhaps one of the reasons she loves kids is because they don’t judge her.
I know there are a lot of people out there who adore her, and I have to admit that she is a very remarkable person who isn’t easy to forget. She stands out to me as a person because of her talents, her outrageous mind, and because I feel I have a lot of her traits and I see myself in her sometimes. Unfortunately, she is extremely difficult to get along with. Recently I’ve had the opportunity to spend a lot more time with her than I normally choose to (usually 2-3 times a year). I know that sounds bad, but life is busy, they don’t call me often either and it’s not a huge desire of mine to see her.
My memories growing up recall a lot of laughing about my grandmother and talking about her behind her back by almost all of the adults around me. My immediate and extended families, my friends, everyone. She is remarkable in that she is able to offend so easily, not give a shit what anyone thinks, and get extremely emotional for almost no apparent reason. All things I am terrified of being myself. Those things she does cause people to talk about her. I would hear all the comments, people don’t think kids listen but they do.
She is religious and her faith is her rock, for sure. She expresses how much God, Jesus, and prayer has helped her have a good life, healed her illness and injuries, blessed our family, etc. and consistently reminds me that I was forced to ask Jesus into my heart as a child because I didn’t know any better. I am not religious today, and I feel extremely anxious about mentioning that to her, family always warning me about doing so. She has been known to yell, hang up the phone, cry, and more on people in the family for less. In person I don’t know how I would feel, but I know it wouldn’t be good. She’s excellent at making people feel guilt for not being religious.
I offered to drive her to church since my Grandfather is in care with his daughter while being diagnosed with possible stroke. She took it immediately as I wanted to go to church with her. It’s like I feel I’m going to break her heart if I tell her I don’t want to. I mumble something and I’ll just try to forget it and hope she doesn’t ask again. She recalls memories with vivid detail, but her memory of the present is not very good recently I’ve noticed. It’s heartbreaking in a way, because both of my grandmothers are now at this stage and I find them telling me the same things quite often. I don’t remind them that they’ve told me because I know it would make them feel bad.
I try very hard to be a good granddaughter, but grandma pushes me to my limits in regards to my ability to sit and listen to her for hours on end. I am not exaggerating. She talks and talks, and how she keeps herself going is by getting sidetracked by herself over and over again. I know that an easy way to avoid answering something or listening to something you don’t want to hear is to change the subject, usually by pointing out something in the environment. She’s very easily distracted. Thank goodness, because just a few days ago I was given the opportunity to hear how my grandpa has been worried he’s impotent but they had sex after he put his hand on her sore back to warm it up. At my aunt’s house too. It’s so very hard to listen to things like this, and it’s not limited to anyone either. Medical marvels and religion, conspiracy theories, all are parts of the rambling monologue that she goes on. She will interrupt anyone and everyone, and will talk even if you interject. I try very hard to be a good granddaughter.
My grandpa is a saint, I guess. He is a good listener. Most of the family thinks she might be driving him crazy. I wouldn’t be surprised. He works to keep busy all the time, and it’s obviously because he can’t stand to be cooped up with her all day long! Grandma has mentioned he has even gone to see if I’m at the barn where I keep my horse! Yet I never receive a phone call, I’ve tried to call and text him and arrange it but never heard back. I would have loved to spend more time with him. I hope to when he recovers and he is back home.
Grandma is also a Trump supporter. A Canadian supporter, obviously. She watches all sorts of religious junk on TV and eats up whatever they say. She believes in all sorts of conspiracy theories and junk science, plus her religion makes her proclaim things like how homosexuals aren’t born that way in front of whoever might be around. It’s so embarrassing. She has brought these things up at holidays and dinners, and it’s up to the family to change the subject. Lately I hear that everyone is worried she will leave her money to some church in the US instead of her kids. Well, Grandpa’s money. She has never worked a job in her life, just raised the two kids. She believes Trump is ordained by God, and that abortion is wrong, of course, and many many other things. It’s difficult to have a conversation about just about anything without hearing a tirade about one of these subjects!
Unfortunately, I have the privilege of being the closest family member living near her since her and my grandfather moved within 10 minutes of me!