ruthless compassion (aroraborealis) wrote,
ruthless compassion

Irene Wise

My grandmother was born March 2, 1914. She died a year ago today, four days after her 90th birthday. I wrote about that here.

Though my grandmother wasn't a big part of my life, I've found myself thinking about her from time to time, as one might expect. She never seemed very happy to me. She was critical and difficult and pessimistic. She called me a pollyanna in order to dismiss my optimism, but I think it helped her, too, when she let it in.

She was a fine grandmother, in occasional week-long visits here and there, but I'm lucky that my mom fell far from the tree of Irene's example of mothering. I think both of us, my mom from the front and I from the rear, missed Irene's best years, once her kids had left the home and before her second husband died. My mom tells me that she and Amil travelled a lot, all over the world. It's hard for me to imagine Irene being such a traveller.

Indeed, most of the examples Irene set for me were warnings. She didn't make being old look very good, though some of her neighbors set a cheerier example for me. She was a difficult person in many respects, due, no doubt, to having a challenging childhood, from what I've gathered. She was one of three girls. Sylvia, the other of the sisters who I know, is very similar. I imagine their natal family was no bed of roses.

Irene was beautiful. She liked crossword puzzles, and she fell asleep in front of the nightly news. She was a great swimmer. She might have had a happier life if she were more creative. I don't believe in an afterlife, so the goodbyes I had, I said last year at her deathbed. Nevertheless, I can't help wondering if she might be elsewhere, finding a happier way. And though it doesn't really change anything at all, I like to imagine her in her traveling years, sipping tropical beverages and smoking on the deck of some ridiculous cruise ship, really enjoying her life.

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