I didn’t know my actual grandmothers very well, for there was an ocean between us and they died when I was young. But I had Marie. She was a grandmother to me in every way but blood. I still remember meeting here when I was nearly two years old. My mom was in her yoga class, and I was sitting on a mat at a downtown Montreal YMCA.
Marie lived with us for a while, and no more than a few months would go by without her sleeping over on a weekend. As a tween and teen, I had no idea she was going through a divorce and other issues. All I knew was that she was warm, loving, smart as a wipe, and could make the best tuna sandwiches. If my parents were out of town and I would call to ask if I could do something (sleepover at a friend’s, go to a mall), she would always turn it back on me and ask me what the responsible answer to my question was. Later in life, she would be the only person who could see right through all of my expert defenses to see whatever pain I was hiding.
As a kid, she taught me that little young men should never underestimate women in their 50s, and she never had to say a word to do so. While she wasn’t able to beat me at Combat on my Atari 2600, she had a walking speed that made me run. She was ni-unbeatable at Scrabble, and had tales about living in England during WW2 that would haunt me.
Marie was the type of strong women that little me just assumed all girls grew up to be one day. And while her spirit’s moved on, she is immortalized in every strong female character I have ever written, and will ever write.
She will be greatly missed.
Note: The image I used isn’t her, but rather how she made me feel.