For my whole life, my grandma has lived with us. or, to be more accurate, we have always lived in her house with her. As a child, I was not always nice to her. I would taunt her, only to have her try and chase me, usually with a yard stick in her hand. I was always quicker though. I never really sat down and talked with her; learned about our family, or about her time growing up.
When I started to grow up, as a teenager, I began to respect her more; learning more about her, her family and her hardships. She became more to me than a grandma. She became my friend. I told her more than I told my mother at times, not on purpose, but simply because nan asked me the questions, and had more time for conversations than mum.
When I began to study music at school, we would discuss music, often disagreeing or debating various points and differences between guitar and piano score. No one ever really won the arguments, and they would often continue the next night… After my parents got divorced, she really stepped up, almost becoming a second mum. She took my fathers place at my graduation,as well as helping me with my music homework towards the end of year 12. I would always try to make her proud, either by telling her of an achievement, or showing her something I had drawn, painted or made. It may not have made complete sense to her, like my website for example, but she always appreciated it, and praised it.
Looking back on these times, I am glad that I have had her in my life, but unhappy that I didn’t learn more from her when I had the chance. My nan is now a beautiful young 93 years young, living in a wonderful nursing home in Williamstown, mere blocks from the house she was born in and grew up in, as well as the church that her family attended, and where she played the organ for 75 years of her life, only missing 2 Sundays that I know of for medical reasons. Her long service in the parish was not dismissed: she received a thank you letter and a medal from the Pope, a certificate of merit, and a plaque on the organ, which she has played for almost it’s entire life. Of course, she didn’t want all the fuss. She enjoyed playing the organ, was no paid for doing so, except by the occasional wedding or funeral, and even then, only after they insisted.
People have said to me that nan played at their parents weddings and funerals, as well as their communions, confirmations, and now their kids communions and confirmations. She has become almost a part in their families; present in all of their religious milestones. Even thought she now resides in a nursing home, and suffers from dementia, she has not forgotten her music, and we still talk and occasionally argue about music when I visit.
She will never lose what was such a huge part of her life, and that will always be a part of mine, thanks to her years of discussion, and teachings.