This is my most favourite photo of my Nan taken by my mom during a visit. We live in Ontario, all of both my husband’s and my family live in New Brunswick. So our visits are not as frequent as perhaps we would all like but that also makes them extra special.
My Nan on this day lovingly cooked and baked for our arrival. Was both affected by the loud young children’s noises (not being around young children very often) and thrilled by them. She commented often about how smart my girls were (and continued to do so as they grew). She loved how much 2 year old Cara could talk and talk and so clearly. Then came likely to regret that comment, when Cara answered her question of, “Why aren’t you eating the lovely homemade meal I made you?” She had made a very Maritime meal of fish cakes, beans and freshly baked bread. So Yummy! But my lovely Cara has never been one for fish, even to this day. Beans are stretching it too. So she says, “Well, if you made chicken and potatoes Ida ate that!” Nan handled that pretty well considering that in her day that would have been incredibly rude for a child to say. So my mother, myself and Maria just carried on. And I believe, other choices were gathered for Cara. Maria who would not say such things and so benefited from her sisters frankness with more choices for lunch.
I love this photo from that day because she was happy, excited to be cooking for us. Serving her love on plates and in tea cups. My mom captured a great grandmother’s love and sense of pride. I love her and my girls smiles. The energy is such beautiful one.
These visits, some years ago were always filled with tea and food, conversations and wildlife. Lots of time spent, looking out her windows. She rented a small home on a lake which would attract a variety of animals. There were tears when eventually we would have to leave and not be returning for some time. Of course, as children grow, a family’s schedule is taken up by school and activities. So our trips have gotten a little less frequent but all have been cherished.
A few short years ago I started to notice my Nan aging at a great pace it seemed. Easily and, perhaps a bit painfully, seen from the space between our visits. By last year, it was very clear she was not going to be able to continue her very independent life. And after falls, and the realization she wasn’t able to care for herself as well as she needed. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s which came after a previous Breast Cancer diagnoses. She moved into a care home close to her son and in a location more convenient for everyone to check in on her and visit. Her previous homes where located in beautiful rural New Brunswick but also very isolated. I remember her saying how she missed her car. And I totally get that! She loved to take solo drives out and about driving wherever her heart decided to go. I can relate, my solo time in my car with tunes cranked is a such cherished time for me.
I was wondering as we started to move into winter how she would do. Unfortunately, my fears were well founded. She started to become sick on and off, her fierce stubbornness started to work against her, more falls started to happen. Then a recent hospital stay for pneumonia of which she recovered. But with this stay also came the realization she was in a very fragile state. Her next move would be into a nursing home not back to the care home. Upon hearing this I wondered if she would go along with this change. And I don’t think she did. She rapidly declined and I think decided her time was done here. Yesterday, I got the inevitable call, from my mom, that Nan has passed away.
This coming Sunday would have been her 89th birthday. She did not want any service just cremation. She wanted her ashes to go back to her home in Nova Scotia, where she grew up. A long side her family in a little cemetery. Our little family here in Ontario will celebrate her life by having tea and hot chocolate in her tea cups and cake on her plates while sharing our memories of our times with her. Just as she loved to do … Food, tea and conversation. ❤