My Gram Weston, my mother’s mother passed away today. She has not been well physically for some time and has had dementia / Alzeimer’s for a number of years. I have experienced in her what many have seen happen to their loved ones with Alzeimer’s. You lose them mentally long before you lose them physically. Although she has only recently departed, in many ways, she has already been gone for some time. During my last visit with her a couple of years ago I had the feeling that she wasn’t quite sure who I was. It was like she was losing people in the reverse order that she had met them.
She was too kind or polite to let on that she didn’t know who Julie was. I don’t think she knew who I was but she remembered Mom, and her other kids. She remembered the songs she had sung to them that they were now singing to her. For years now she would say, “I can remember things that happened 30 years ago but I can’t remember if I have had breakfast today.”
My Gram was a remarkable woman. She is descended from the royal Scott’s and is my closest link to the British Royalty. She is descended from the famous Antarctic explorer Robert Scott. Gram was born and grew up during the depression and bore the marks of a person born during that time. She could hardly throw anything out and could find a useful purpose for everything. I remember being told as a child on our way up to visit them that “I would have to eat everything on my plate and not leave a scrap. Gram and Grandad grew up during the depression and her whole family would make a meal out of two potatoes”.
She was clever with a quick wit and I was introduced to Spike Jones through Gram and Grandad. While visiting they (probably at their wit’s end) played a Spike Jones record for my brothers and I. We loved it and had them play it constantly all afternoon until they hid it for the rest of our visit.
Gram was an abuse survivor. Her father was not a good man. He was an elder in the church in Victoria BC but would beat his kids indiscriminately. She suffered at the hands of this man throughout her childhood. Those who wax philosophically about the ‘good old days’ are not aware, or choose to forget that in that day and age what happened in a man’s home was his own business and no one else’s. There were no requirements of law for teachers and pastors to report suspected abuse back then. Everyone knew, and said nothing.
Abuse has a tendency to repeat itself, generation after generation, but my Gram was the one who broke the chain of abuse in my family. She resolved that a new family value would start with her. Her home was free of this tyranny. Gram loved beautiful things like music and art. If you were to visit her home you would have to clear a spot an a chair for there would be a teddy bear in every seat you could find. Perhaps everyone who is cranky, or bitter, or negative should just fill their house with teddy bears; 25 – 50 should do it. Then see how they feel.
My Gram, Queen of Scotts.