There’s no place like home… except Grandma’s. ~Author Unknown
There are times in all of our lives when we feel that a gloomy fog has settled around us. We’re confused, and we’re lost, and we are often not sure where we are going. We sometimes know what has caused the fog to settle, and sometimes we do not.
My grandmother passed away three weeks ago. It’s not something I like to tell people, because I know they won’t understand. There are only a handful of people that I trust enough to open up about her death to, just a few people that I am willing to share the sacred memory of my grandmother with.
I spent many evenings with my grandmother in Russia. We would watch late night television together, and we would lay in our beds talking to each other until she would slowly doze off to sleep. In the mornings, she always got up before I did, and would have the best breakfast waiting for me. It would usually be black bread, farmer’s cheese, and home churned butter. I loved to pair that with a hot cup of coffee with milk and sugar. We would sit together, eating our breakfast and discussing the latest family news, with the sun rays pouring in from her white kitchen windows. Afterwards, I would fight her to let me do the dishes. She always won. And when she would wash the dishes, she would hum to herself, with her little blue apron tied around her waist. I’ll never have a breakfast like that again. Of course I could go out and buy each ingredient like she had (although I could never pick out farmer’s cheese as masterfully as she did), but without my grandmother it won’t be that breakfast. With her passing, I feel as if an era of my life has gone. Like I will never run home from school again to her house, where she had baked potato-filled pastries ready just for me. I can’t imagine that I won’t do that! How I took that time for granted! It’s so hard to let go of that part of my life…the school years in Russia I spent with my grandmother. Her house was truly a sanctuary for me.
I spend a lot of nights lately laying in bed thinking about her, trying to remember the smallest, most insignificant days, and fixate them into my memory. I think back to every little detail of every moment — how the sun was shining that day, the blue dress with small flowers she was wearing, and her sassy little remarks. I try to remember as much as I can, because I am so afraid of forgetting.
I’m afraid to forget that, despite her simple life, she was the greatest woman I could ever imagine meeting. She had pride running through every organ in her body, and she handled all hardships life threw at her with dignity and class.
She would always worry if I was hungry. Even she was very sick, and had a hard time speaking, she would still ask, “Are you hungry? There is food in the kitchen.” But those are the memories I try to forget. I don’t want to remember her when she was sick. I want to remember her when she was laughing, and smiling, and happy, and sad, and angry…but not when she was sick.
My grandmother would always tell me, “Indira, every person chooses his own destiny.”
That was the most important thing she taught me. And in my daily hardships, when I’m struggling with College Algebra, or when I’m afraid to apply to Journalism school because I fear I’ll get denied, or when I’m late to class and the traffic light has been red for the past ten minutes…I want to throw my hands up in the air, and cry, cry, cry. I want to holler, “I give up!”
But I hear her voice, loud and clear, “Indira, every person chooses his own destiny.”
I refuse to have a quitter’s destiny. That’s not what my strong, Russian grandmother taught me. That is not the blood that runs through my veins.
The blood that runs through my veins is hers, and I, too, will face life’s trails with pride, dignity, and class…just like she taught me to.
With all my love,