“I wish I had been more wild and wooly”, she said, holding my gaze before she closed her eyes again. It was two days before she passed away. I sat there on the edge of her hospital bed holding her hand in my hand, stroking her forehead with the other one. I still remember how soft her skin was and how fuzzy her hair felt. She always had a perm.
In the days before her death, she was in and out of wakefulness. In her lucid moments she would repeat “I love you. I love you.” I would squeeze her hand and say those words back to her as many times as I could before I choked up. I made sure she could feel me beside her.
Her hospital room was intimately filled with her children and grandchildren. Each one of us had begun the grieving process wanting to find peace with what was about to happen. Each one of us secretly feeling like we were her favourite. Coveting all the private moments we had had with her over the years, wondering how we’d ever get along without her.
As I watched over her, I wondered what her mind was doing as her body prepared to transition from this world. I decided that whenever she closed her eyes she was able to travel through the memories of her life, scanning each one, re-living her choices and experiences. I believed she was taking stock of her big, beautiful life.
And possibly, “I wish I had been more wild and wooly” was her conclusion.
Margaret was my grandmother. She was 95 and a half when she left this world. Today marks the one year anniversary of her passing.
I’ve wanted to write about her for a long time. But, how do you put into words the magnitude of love you have for someone? I still don’t know.
People talk about legacy. About leaving a mark on the world.
What I know for sure is that my grandmother left a legacy. She showed me how to impact lives in a way that really makes a difference. She modelled love in every aspect of her being.
Margaret taught me that the most important thing you can do for someone is believe in them. I watched her acknowledge the beauty in people until they could see it in themselves. She showed me that physical touch, hugs, rocking and snuggling are the most nurturing things you can do for a child. And that a hot water bottle, flannel sheets and a hot cup of tea can make anyone feel better. And when your kids are driving you crazy just pull them in close and hug them a little tighter.
My grandmother was a magical person to me. I miss her presence in my life every single day.
When I struggle as a mom I ask myself “What would Gram do?”
When I feel self-doubt or question my own worthiness I hear her say: “I wish I had been more wild and wooly.” And then, I’m not so scared anymore.
Dear Gram, it’s been a year of firsts without you. I’d give anything to eat your pancakes today.
I love you.
I love you.
I love you.
Thank you for reading this very personal post. I hope that some of Margaret’s love and magic reaches your heart today.
If you’d like to leave a comment below, you know I’d love to hear your thoughts.