The real heroine in my life was my paternal grandmother. To me she was what a grandmother should be. Loving, caring, full of life. She would give her shirt of her back to help you. She was my one and only. After I immigrated to the US, I continued the very special relationship I had with her in the many letters that we wrote to each other. We’d snail-mail them. She knew nothing about computers, didn’t own one.
My grandfather died 21 years ago of heart failure. He battled the illness on and off for 10 years and gradually got worse at the end. He adored her, he doted on her and did everything for her. He was the breadwinner for sure.
Both of them born in the 1920th, they grew up through the depression and my grandfather served in World War II. I loved when she would tell stories of a time long gone, when she was a little girl, when she was a young woman starting to work and when she met grandpa and had babies. I knew all the places she was talking about and could imagine from photographs how it used to look.
My grandmother was a character. She loved music, she was a wonderful singer and was always humming a tune. She loved to bake, she loved her roses, especially yellow. they were her favorite. One of her favorite saying was “Give me a flower, while I am living”, and that is truly how she lived.
As I got older, she would coach me on more grown-up topics. We would have long talks in her kitchen or at lunches. She was my go-to, my rock.
I have spent most of my adult life in the US and I have missed being able to go to her house for afternoon coffee. She would always make the best coffee.
My daughter and I went to Denmark last year to visit my family and attend my brother’s wedding. My grandma had battled pancreatic cancer for a few years and I knew when I saw her that it would be the last time. She was frail and she knew her time had come. During our last vist to her apartment, my folks were there too and we all sat down and talked a bit.
In a quiet moment, she took my hand and squeezed it. I knew all the words she was saying without her even talking. Just a little while later I hugged and kissed her goodbye.
My grandmother lost her battle to cancer earlier this year at the age of 88. She was and always will be my true hero.