From Left: Roy Conacher (my Granddad), Bert Conacher (Uncle Bert, Granddad’s twin brother, Grace Conacher (Bert’s wife and my Great Aunt) & Fran Conacher (My Granny)
Bert & Grace’s Wedding, 1955.
Look at those women. The perfect skin, perfect hair. Those “don’t mess with me OR my man” eyes.
Bold women. Strong women. Sassy women. Til the end.
My Granny passed away last month. She was just shy of 94. Dementia had taken her mind years ago, but her spirit never broke. She lived out her days in a wonderful facility in Victoria, BC, and I was blessed enough to take Little Bee to meet her back in February. I myself hadn’t seen her in years. I was scared that my last memory of her was going to be how I saw her at the home – but when I arrived there, I was relieved to see that, despite the ravages of her mind, she was still very much my Granny. Although she barely spoke, she was warm and happy, smiling throughout the visit. And she held Little Bee. I witnessed how strong she was, still, as her frail, 90-lb body held tight to the squirming 5-month old in her lap. Something in her mind sparked, “you’ve done this before. Don’t let go.” When my Aunt drove us to airport, I hugged my Granny and whispered “goodbye.” Her eyes were closed, but I knew from her smile that she heard me.
There were complications, there was heart failure. She slipped away in peace as her Mozart played. We were all sad, but I felt a sense of relief, too, in a way. She has missed my Granddad for nearly 30 years. It was about time she got to be with him again. We will say our final goodbyes next weekend, but just this morning….
Grace. My dear, Aunt Grace. At 90 years old, her time came too soon. A tragic accident took her from our beloved Uncle Bert and her two grown children, Brent and Cathy. Her mind was still sharp as a whip, she was making jokes when I last saw her only a few weeks ago. She was frail, but determined. Uncle Bert, suddenly a widower. At 96. My, God. I just….
I didn’t want to say anything last month when Granny passed. I think I was having so much fun with this blog and the ever-morphing and growing thing that is Little Bee. With so many good things distracting me, I felt saying anything or talking about it would get me down.
But… it’s okay to be down. I need to be down about this. This, double whammy. These two vivacious, joyful women, now gone to the sky.
How curious, this universe we live in. This world where heartbreak happens to every single one of us – yet when it does, we can feel so very alone, even in the arms of loved ones going through the exact same experience. Grief is the hardest emotion of all, except maybe, for love. And when they go hand-in-hand, how does one make it through their days?
So, I’m sad tonight. In a world full of Mileys and Britneys and Gagas, to be less two incredible women when their example is needed more than ever…it makes me so very sad.
In honour of my Fran and my Grace, I beg that tonight, you take a moment to honour your Frans and Graces. Send an email. A Tweet. Write a post. Or, if you are so moved, sit down and write a letter – by hand.
I’ll get through. I always have, after grief comes knocking. I just can’t let it knock me down.
In the meantime, I’m going to sneak into my daughter’s room, and watch her soundly sleep.