If only I knew then how valuable a moment could be. Maybe I wouldn’t shed so many tears in a day. I am so proud of who I am becoming but that piece of me that always knew what I was capable of is missing.
I was raised in a very loving family surrounded by Aunts, Uncles, Cousins and of course my grandparents. To see first hand two people who loved each other, who committed their whole lives to each other and to their family makes me wish I appreciated them the whole time. I witnessed first hand the value of a strong matriach providing for her family. My Grandmother and Grandfather worked very hard every day to provide for all of us. They built a house on a farm with acreage for their 5 children and tended to the Cows, Chicken and garden to make sure all of their bellies were full. I still can see us as children eating raspberries in the patch behind their house and making away with one of Grandma’s canned peaches. Anytime I needed them they were genuinely a walk across a field. We were neighbors. How I wish I appreciated that at the time. My fondest memories was when all of us were on the farm together haying and eating chicken. Of course being girls we could only sit in the cab of my truck with my Auntie but those summer days were the best because we were all together we were all family. We never missed a holiday together. Christmas’s on the farm were amazing. We were all there. We would go sledding, play hide and seek and my Dad would actually shovel off a skating rink for us too. My Grandma was a great host and would always help out the moms when we were at each other’s houses. She played cards with us kids, always let the 5 of us sleep over even though we were handfuls and caused so much trouble when we were together. We always tried to break into her snack cabinet for chips and candy and even one time got into trouble from Grandpa for stealing his peanut brittle.
Grandpa was built like a big oak tree and was always working on the farm and helping his boys (they had 1 girl and 4 boys). The fondest memory of my grandpa was how he always tried to trick us with the candy in his pocket trick…just an fyi he never had candy he was just trying to give us hugs. After he moved from the farm his memory began to slip but you would never know because my Grandmother loved him unconditionally no matter what. She was a very good woman. Cooking for us all till the very end. I miss you Grandma so much, I wish I took more time to learn from you but I promise I will not lose the value of a moment again. I will learn all that I can from your daughter because she is the very essence of you. If I can learn from her it’s like you are right here beside me teaching me. That’s the way it should’ve been before I thought I was too cool for my family and that drinking and carrying on was the way I wanted to be.
The ripple effect for all of us when was my Grandmother passed away. I was away at University when the call came in. I will never forget that feeling. I was running laps around the track when my ex told me my Grandmother had passed. When I asked how my mom was he told me it was my Dad’s Mom. That I couldn’t possibly comprehend. She was healthy, she was my grandma and wait what she can’t be gone!! I never got to say goodbye how is this happening. It was Easter weekend and I shouldve went home but I selfishly didn’t want to make the drive. It was her last Easter with us. She went into the hospital a week before and she was very very sick. They allowed her one last time out of the hospital to spend it with her family, that day was Easter Monday. That was also the first day that a piece of my heart broke.
I always see her at the top of the stairs waving goodbye telling me to visit soon because they weren’t going to be around much longer. If I only knew how true those words were I would’ve done alot of things differently. I remember calling my Grandpa to pay my respects to tell him I loved him that I was sorry that I would come home soon. He only asked how could I love somebody like him? I laughed and said of course I love you Grandpa, you are my Grandpa. How was I supposed to know that the devastation of losing his love would cause him to slip into a place where at least they were together. It was a matter of time before it became too hard for my Aunt to care for him properly and he went into care. He was developing Alzheimer’s and it was only a matter of time before he slipped away too. I would visit him for years after where he sat in a room asking about Grandma, asking about his cows and wondering who the heck I was. I saw the red rims of his eyes and knew that no matter how hard it was for me it was a million times harder for him. The day he passed was a bittersweet moment. He was no longer in pain, he could be at peace with his love once again for eternity.
It wasn’t until the moment that I laid dying that I knew that I had been living my life all wrong. I still feel that in those 7 minutes they came to me. I have no idea what they said, I really wish I did. I only know how I feel now. I feel this intense feeling of pleasure when I dress up and bake and clean my house. That’s what she did. I never knew her to be without a dress, stockings or her lil pumps. She was selfless in everything she did. She was loyal and dedicated to her whole family and continued to provide for us all until she couldn’t. I feel so blessed that I have this opportunity to become the woman that they believed I was going to be one day. I hope they look down on me and smile. My hope is that maybe one day we can all be together for one last holiday like we used to do before this all happened. I hope also that my son grows up knowing how wonderful his roots are. That are blood line runs full of true Russian spirit and more specifically that he learns to be a proud Doukobohr like I am. That he always has a full belly from the dishes that his Grandma used to make for me and hopefully that mabye the peace comes once you fully forgive yourself and open your heart. I hope my son realizes the true value in a moment because that is all we are, a series of moments.
Rest in Peace Helen and Pete you will always live on in me and hopefully within my son.