By Tim Kalionowski
Dealing with the loss of a loved on is always difficult. But sometimes what makes it more difficult is the circumstance of that death and the kind of life the person led.
Someone who dies young is always going to rip your guts out because you can’t help but think of the lost years and missed potential represented by that death.
Someone who dies after suffering terribly in their final weeks or months is difficult to cope with too because you have to watch that decline and live through that with them. You can’t help but think about the person who was versus the shell that remains. That last memory scars the entire memory of the person you loved. One should never have to feel relief at a loved one’s death, and the guilt that comes with it, but it is often a reality under these circumstances.
But there is a third kind of death which is not a bad one. Someone who has lived a full life and did not suffer much in the end.
Such was the case of my grandmother’s death last week at the age of 89. For all of us in our family, it will be much easier to say goodbye because of the person she was and the kind of life she lived as we head to her funeral on Tuesday in Kelowna. I would just like to share a few memories of her with you. None of my readers will know her, but maybe you can get a sense of why her death, while sad, is not cause for regret or relief.
So funny the things you remember after a loved one has gone. Grandma Aila (pronounced eye-la) loved spring colours, strong perfume and she had a wicked little cackle laugh when she heard a slightly off colour joke. Sometimes we called her the Sgt. Major. She kept an immaculate house, loved chatty cockatiels and nasty little Yorkshire terriers. She had a heart of gold and was always strong in the face of adversity. She was a rock when both my Grandpa Bill died leaving her a widow at a fairly young age and when her youngest daughter, my Aunt Cheryl, died of breast cancer. She remained independent in mind and spirit right to the end even as her body failed. She had a “get on with it” attitude and a great sense of humour. She was a real duck and one of the least shy people you will ever meet. She will be missed by all of us who knew her. But she left so many fond memories that will never be forgotten.
Rest in peace Grandma. We have no regrets about the 89 years you spent with us. Go with all our love.