Great People I admire of whom I want my children to know: My Grandmother

As we were coming home from our vacation, my older son was all in tears. He was already missing his cousins. He wanted to see them everyday. I tried to console my little guy saying that I knew how he felt because I would also love to see some people everyday. I thought it should work, but instead my son demanded details. “Like who?” he asked sobbing. “Who would you like to see everyday?”

Who would I like to see everyday, indeed? For a loner and introvert like me there is no apparent answer to this question. I love to have my family around on a daily basis but apart from my three boys, I’m pretty selective. However, there is one more person that I definitely miss. It’s my grandmother, Stefania.

She played a very active role in my childhood and beyond.  In her very simple and quiet ways, she was always there for me, believing in me and  supporting my choices, even the unreasonable ones. It’s not that she was approving of them. She was just patiently waiting until I would find my way. Her support was the greatest motivator to live right. But for what I admire her the most is who she was.  Her childhood was mostly taken away by the war, after which she spent her life working hard.,  She raised four children and fostered two grandchildren. Life didn’t pamper her. You could see her pain in her eyes,  yet, she has never complained about anything. She has never been bitter or disgruntled. Actually, she’s been the most selfless, giving and generous person I’ve met. I remember once we were chatting about winning  a lottery and what we would do with all the money. She wanted to give it to her poor neighbors with little children. She didn’t have the money to give, but she often brought them fresh fruit and vegetables from her garden.

My grandma is 84 now. While many old wounds have healed, her life is far from bliss. A few years ago she lost her speaking skills after a stroke.  I don’t even know if she understands me when I talk to her on the phone, but I do know we communicate regardless.  My biggest regret though is that now that I have so many questions to her, a woman to woman,  all she can do is to respond to me with her weary look and a distant smile. I will never know more.