Monday, December 27, 2010
Here's looking at you, kid
Christmas sometimes makes you feel some crazy emotions. You go from one ho-ho-ho-high to an if-auntie-Mary-sings-we-wish-you-a-"Mary"-Christmas-one-more-time-I-will-stuff-her-mary-ass-in-the-chimney-low. Maybe it's the pent-up frustration from getting soap-on-a-rope four years in a row from your mother-in-law or maybe it's cause Christmas just isn't the same this year.
Chris's gran, Liliana, passed away on the 13th of November. She was the closest thing to a grandmother I ever knew since all my grandparents passed away either before I was born or before my 7th birthday. From the day we met we clicked like Turner and Hooch, me being Hooch since I had so much to learn from her.
Gran Liliana wasn't your average grandmother. She didn't knit bulky sweaters with characters on them as she knew not to waste her precious time and not to put us through the whole pretend-we-love-it-and-give-it-to-the-maid-the-next-day-routine. She didn't bake cookies because she was realistic enough to not want us die before her. She DID have an amazing sense of humour; I suppose being 88 you've seen enough to know that it's better to laugh about it than letting everyone see your ugly-cry face.
I remember taking her to the optometrist a few months ago to get her eyes tested. As we were about to leave, the optometrist shook Gran L's hand and said: "See you again in six months."
Gran L replied with her heavy Italian mobster accent: "I bloody hope not!"
She came to South Africa after WWII with Chris's grandfather. He met her in Italy and fell in love instantly with this short, witty and strong willed lady. At first she didn't like Africa all that much since we had none of the style the Italians possessed (not much has changed) and she couldn't understand a word of Afrikaans. She still couldn't speak the language until the day she died; she stayed stubbornly true to her roots.
Being in Italy during the war Gran L had the most amazing stories to tell about how the Germans bombed their home and their villa and how they had to fight for survival. I wish we had more time for me to write them down. It would've been a great Christamas gift.
I miss her light little chuckle that sounded like happy girls playing in a field; I miss her calling me my worst days without her even knowing that I was sitting on the floor feeling pretty sorry for myself; I miss her slow walk and holding her hand; I miss her blue eyes and complaints about her back; I miss her little old person smell and clinging of fine jewellery; and I know I promised her I wouldn't cry when she's gone, but she never told me it would be this hard. I just miss her so much.
Here's to you, Gran Liliana; I hope you keep them on their toes upstairs. Rest in Peace.