When I was growing up, my favorite person in the world was my grandmother. She was my world, she had time for me. She taught me card games, algebra (still not my favorite, but at least I understand it somewhat!) and a lot about myself. She would fight for me when no one else would. She was my strongest supporter, and taught me a lot about my gifts and abilities. She would know when I was hurting, no matter how much I tried to cover it. To this day, the thought of her not being beside me is enough to make me cry. When the phone rings I still expect it to be her. She used to teach through story more than anything. For me, if I discovered the underlying truth myself, it meant more and I could incorporate it better into day to day practise. When I had projects to do for school, I always asked for her input because of her quick wit and creativeness. She was a problem solver and I eventually figured out why.
Being a kid that never felt valued, attention was gold! The other thing was that my grandmother had an overpowering fear of crowds, so she was always home. She hadn’t left the street for easily 20 years by the time she died. She married my grandfather at 18, after his wife had died. She inherited 4 kids (some very close to her age) and had 5 more of her own. She used to tell me stories about when they were all living in the small “A” frame house that they bought during the war by scrimping and saving. A three bedroom house with 2 parents, 9 kids and at least two or three foreign students to supplement the income. They worked hard, and had a house that I have wanted to own to this day. My mother was always very unhappy about my relationship with my grandmother, I could “read her” and she could “read me” from anywhere. She taught me about “seeing” things, about bonds not being broken between people, even after death (a lesson I was soon to learn) and many other things I use today.
One of the most powerful stories she told me, had the premise of, “if you see a penny, pick it up, because that means I’m thinking of you.” I used to find pennies here and there, usually when I was having a rough time at school or home. Anytime I was being punished, it usually included no ‘nanny’ access because that was something that was sure to hurt me.
The day my grandmother died, I was at my part time job. I just couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong. I was jittery and jumpy and I couldn’t put a finger on it. My mom called me at the restaurant just before lunch to tell me the bad news. I was devistated! I felt like my twin had died. She was the only one in my family that understood me, she was the only person I knew who could see the things I could see and feel the things that I felt.
I felt totally alone.
My mom gave me a Valium to get me through the funeral. It didn’t help. I just saw my grandmother breathing in the casket. What did help was her talking to me, in my ear at the same time. I know what most people think when I say that, so I don’t say it anymore. ..but I recognise that the barrier between life and death is just a thin veil.
After the funeral, which was on a clear sunny fall day, we all went outside to go to the cemetary. Outside the funeral home doors, on a fairly busy street in Ottawa, I was more than blown away to see hundreds of pennies all over the ground, with no one anywhere to be seen.
About a week after the funeral, she visited me at night for the first time. It scared the hell out of me, and I woke up crying. It happens quite often now…now that I accept what I see, and don’t try to cover it with food or alcohol.
I got a box of super 8 video and a movie projector from my dad after much prodding, and one of the gems in the box was video shot at my nanny’s house. I instantly was transported back there, the smells and quirks of the house…everything in its place. I would have killed for it to have audio….I can’t remember my grandmothers voice, but I will always remember how she made me feel…