Mary 1921 – 2011


My grandmother died today.

A few days ago, she fell and sustained a broken hip (the bane of all octogenarians).  After getting through the pain and surgery, she appeared to be on the mend.  We were hopeful.

She slipped away unexpectedly this morning.

I’m glad she didn’t have to go through the rehabilitation process.  She was spared more needless pain.

She would have turned 90 on May 2.  When I last spoke with her, she was musing that 90 was a very old age.

“Not so,” I told her.  “Not for you.”

Nana with The Fashionista, 1997.

This April, my grandparents would have been married for 70 years.  Unfortunately, my grandfather died in April of last year, just short of his 93rd birthday.

Mary was lost without her man, Bill.  69 years is a long time.

I assumed she and he would go on forever.  I was wrong.

Grandpa with Subway Dude, 1997.

Less than two weeks ago, the spirit moved me to write about her childhood in French-speaking Nova Scotia.  I never got the chance to read the piece to her.  She would have gotten a kick out of it.

My father raised a great point today.  He talked about how his mother lived a much richer life than she could have ever imagined.  She came from very humble beginnings.  She married a man who broadened her horizons.  She tempered his rough edges.  Together they raised a family.  In retirement, they traveled the world.

Whenever I spoke with them, my grandparents were always grateful that they would wake up every morning together — and that they were largely free of pain.

Their wedding photo from 1941 is framed in the background.

In her typical courteous manner, my grandmother held on until we got home from our vacation.  I am joking about this.  But truthfully, she never liked to inconvenience people.

I had a great relationship with my grandmother.  From my earliest days up to the present, I loved speaking with her.  She was a very upbeat person, and kind to a fault.

I loved her stories about her parents and about the old country.  She liked to hear about my job and my children.

My grandmother and grandfather were touched by our adoption of Island Boy.  I wish they could have had some time to get to know him.  I am happy that they knew Island Boy’s older brother and sister.

My grandmother was a very sweet person.  In many ways, she reminded me of my darling Running Girl.

I am also reminded of the great eulogy that the Billy Crystal character gave his mother in the film, Mr. Saturday Night.

“She was 90 years old, and she went too soon.”

— The Major

New Year's Eve 1977.


10 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by lisa on February 25, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    This was beautiful.


  2. Posted by LynneLevy on February 26, 2011 at 7:52 am

    Your Grandma (and grandpa too) sounds like such a wonderful human being. I am sorry for your loss and for the loss for your whole family. May she rest in peace and peace come to you all.


  3. Posted by leah on February 26, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    michael, i’m so sorry about your grandmother. we’re thinking of you.


  4. Posted by Eden on February 27, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    Sorry for your loss. She sounds like a wonderful lady!


  5. Mike:
    So sorry for your loss. No matter what the circumstances, death of a loved one is always difficult to accept. Please share my condolences with your family.
    Joey & The Boys


  6. Posted by Alan Bedenko on February 27, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    So sorry, Mike.


  7. Posted by Cecily on February 28, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    Major – what a wondrful piece about your grandmother. She sounds like she was a great lady and clearly she made a positive impact on you and your family. Sorry for your loss.


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