Grandma Maria passed away a couple of days ago, she would have been 93 in January.  She lived a long and full life and during her last 16 years she was a widow. There was a big map in her sitting room, where she would follow us three grandchildren who live abroad and my brother in Bucharest on our trips around the world. She read extensively, she knit and she cared for her garden- “I’ve always loved flowers”, she’d say.

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My parents visited her the same day she passed and she expressed her sorrow about dying on her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and her plants. She was a good-natured and funny lady until the very end. She’d been a teacher and she kept her educational tone throughout her life. You’d always get advice, whether you asked for it or not. 😉

Last time I was there, a month ago, she was happy to see me. “You look good”, she said. “Very good. You haven’t put on weight. That’s good. ‘Cause back in the day when I was fat, I’d see my reflexion in the windows and didn’t like it one bit. And then I’d ask your grandfather: Am I as fat as this lady? And he’d answer: worse. And I know he was kidding, but I also think it was the truth.” I don’t know if you’ll find it as funny as I did, given that Romanian body culture is neither politically correct, nor anything to stand by these days. But it was so funny to see a feeble person hardly being able to stand up still thinking of herself and her previous life in those terms. And the fact that she’s kept her spark was amazing.

I wasn’t able to attend the funeral and in many ways I’m happy I remember her the way she was, not the way she died. Sometimes she’d tell my father reminiscing: “Alina was a tricky one. I’d try to spank her a couple of times, but she was so fast to run away. Then I stopped trying.” Good for me, ’cause I was vindictive and would stay mad forever and I never accepted to be spanked, although it was pretty common back in the day.

I hope you find peace, wherever you are. And even though I don’t believe in the after life, for your sake, I hope there is some. So you can be together with grandpa now. So long, beautiful soul!

xxx, Alina

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