Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Grandma Belle

I've been wanting to do this post for some time now and not too sure why I've been putting it off. It might just be that I didn't think I could express on paper (well, computer) just how I really feel. So here I am giving it a try.

On April 21, 2010, at 7:30am I received a phone call from my mom letting me know that my grandma Belle Forsyth Smith had passed away at the age of 96. Yes, we all knew it was going to come but no matter, the news still rattled my heart.

I remember while living in New Jersey I secretly wished she would still hang on with each breath so that when Chad had graduated from NYU and it was time for us to head back to Canada that she would be around so I could spend some time with her. When we arrived back home last summer, we had a family event out at the ranch where I grew up and where my grandma and Aunts were now living. It had been over 3 years since I had spent any time with my grandma and I was very anxious to see her. As my aunts led me into her bedroom they had mentioned how her health had really declined and that she would most likely be asleep. As I entered the bedroom my heart stopped. As I looked over the bedrail at my frail grandma Belle tears began to drop as I realized just how bad of shape she was in. I had never seen her in such a helpless state before. Immediately my secret wish had changed from a life for my grandma to a different life where she would feel no pain.

Days before the funeral, my sister and I, husbandless, decided to drive the 12 hours up to Canada together with our kids so that we could make it to the funeral. It was a long drive but in the end it was worth every hour. It was great to be with family and to really celebrate my grandma's life. There is just so much comfort in replaying a loved one's life and remembering all the wonderful things they did and said that touched your's.

I can't remember if it was a day or if it was two before the funeral but I got a phone call from my aunts who had a special request. It was definately one I didn't see coming. A request that when immediately spoken had brought tears to my eyes. My aunts had asked if my sister, Shaneen, and I would be willing to be pallbearers with my brothers, my dad and uncles. Wow, that was a tough one to swallow. I was very hesitant as I knew that it would be a very emotional thing to do and I'm pretty sure I would have a tough time holding it together. After, a moment or two of silence, I hesitantly agreed.

The funeral was beautiful and couldn't have been more perfect but when it was time to carry the casket my nerves were shot. Thankgoodness for a father who knew when it was time to put his arm around a daughter's shoulder. One, two, three . . . we hoisted the casket up and yes, I lost it. I don't know who's blubbering noises were louder, mine or my sister's, but we did it. Even though I was a mess, what an honour that was to be able to perform such an act. It is truly one that I will never forget.

I don't know why I've been thinking so much about my grandma this week and missing her like crazy but one thing I know is that I am so blessed to have been able to have had her be such a big part of my life. I miss her smile, I miss her peanut butter and honey sandwiches, I miss shelling peas in the back yard with her, I miss driving by her home and seeing her playing in her garden in her red puff jacket, I just miss her!

Before I wrap this entry up, I just wanted to thank two very special people. My Aunt Susan and Aunt Marcheta. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be a pallbearer. It was emotionally challenging but an experience I will treasure forever. But more importantly, thank you for the years of hours and hours that were spent taking care of grandma. I'm sure it wasn't easy and that there were a million other things you could have been doing but instead you put your lives on hold. I'm positive a nice reward in heaven awaits you both for the selfless sacrifices you made daily for the mother you loved dearly. You are both amazing women and I only hope that I can follow your examples and in doing so become a better person. Thank you again, I love you!


Nathan said...

Love you, Nomer. Thanks for sharing your memories and feelings. Your tribute to the aunts is perfect, but don't forget how amazing you are as well, perhaps a little in part to great women as role models.

Hey, didn't you get after me for writing a post that got you teary. I guess we're even now :-)

Rachelle said...

oh smitty, what a beautiful touching post. how special that you got to do it. and you are right, doesn't matter how old they are - hurts just the same. i miss my grandma everyday and have her pics all around my house. i think of her still - lots of times a day, especially as i look at my children ..; and when i see butterflies.

you are an amazing woman and i'm sure your grandmother is so proud of you. isn't it amazing to know we will see with them again ... they are never far away.

i love you to the moon and back. i'm here if you need me. xoxo.

Emily said...

Wow, I see a strong resemblance between you and your grandmother in that picture. What an amazing experience to get to be a pallbearer. I'm sure that was hard though. It sounds like you have great memories of her and that she was a wonderful grandma. All grandma's are so great...I miss mine too.

mistieleigh said...

you brought tears to my eyes reading your post. it is so hard to close chapters like that in our lives, huh? i remember similar feelings when both my grandparents passed away when i was living back east. Anyway, what an honor for you to be a pallbearer. How amazing. And btw- there is definitely a resemblance in you and your grandma...something in the eyes maybe? If you have another girl - you should name her Belle - that is such a pretty name (sorry, just ignore my opinions!)

Jess said...

She was gorgeous, and she sounds like a lovely person, and I am sure you are very much like her. And, um, I kind of second Mistie's idea. :)

Christina said...

Sorry to hear that your grandmother died. Logically, it makes sense that we are born, live then die, but it doesn't make any sense to our hearts when we lose someone we love.

Thanks for sharing your memories of a cherished grandmother who you look so much like!

Susan said...

Naomi: Thank you, thank you for your post. We just read it tonight and it was such a beautiful expression of your thoughts and feelings and a tribute to our dear mother. We too miss her so much, but know that she is in a far better place, reunited with our Dad. She was truly a great lady and an angel-mother. And she has some wonderful, exceptional grandchildren and great-grandchildren who are living in a world that is so challenging. We always pray for our parents posterity. And thank you too for your kind words. It means a lot to us. Your ever-loving aunts: Marcheta & Susan

Crystal said...

Wow, your entry about your Grandmother was beautiful and brought some tears to my eyes. It reminded me of my grandmother who passed away last year in March. She was my beacon of light and I remember when I realized that my grandma was in bad shape also and that it just wasn't going to be the same any longer. It was still the hardest thing I've gone through when she finally passed. Thank you for reminding me of her.

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Angie said...

As a hospice social worker, I was touched by your tribute to your grandmother. Blessing to you and your family.


Shaneen said...

Hey Sis - I've been such a slacker and haven't checked your blog for a couple of months. What a beautiful tribute to Grandma and the Aunts - you have such a way with words. It was an incredible honor to carry the casket as you worded it so well. Love you tons (even though you made me cry a bit today).

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