One year later: my grandma


Wednesday of last week marked the one year anniversary of my paternal grandmother’s death. I didn’t remember the anniversary until the following day—it came to me suddenly on my way home from work. Even though I had spoken to my dad on the phone that Wednesday evening, he didn’t bring mention it; he later told me that he didn’t want me to feel bad for not remembering.

Thanks to my sister’s April 2013 wedding in Nigeria, my dad saw his mom six months before her death, which I’m thankful for because prior to that, he visited Nigeria in 2006. Before we went to Nigeria last year, he had said that he knew it may be the last time he’d see his mom, based on her age and the infrequency of his visits to Nigeria. He made sure to spend time with her and looking at pictures of the two of them from April of last year made me emotional because the love and care my dad had for his mom showed with every shot we captured.

Although I didn’t know her as well as I wish I could have known her, I admire my grandma: she was delicate-looking, yet had an inner strength that must have been toughened as she dealt with the losses of her husband some 26 years before her, not to mention the loss of adult children, step children and grandchildren (unfortunately plural in all cases)—my dad was glad that she wouldn’t have to witness any more loss.

She also had a physical stamina: although she looked like a strong wind would blow her away, she was still navigating the steep steps in her house well into her 90s. I’m also thankful that she never lost her mental quickness: during family meetings or discussions some people wouldn’t give her much credit but she always knew what was going on and her grasp of the issue and ability to explain it was spot-on and she would draw sensible conclusions and show wisdom. She was a good judge of character. She had such a cute smile, and she was feminine in that she always wanted to look her best if we were snapping pictures—if we snapped her picture while she felt she wasn’t dressed nicely, she would go and change, even in her 90s. She marveled at technology: it was fun to see the delight on her face when we’d show her the picture of her that we had taken seconds earlier with a digital camera—she’d just shake her head.

May my beloved grandma continue to rest in peace. Although I may not share her delicate appearance, I would be honoured to have her strength of character, sharp mind, and wisdom.

While absence can make the heart grow fonder, when you’ve lived apart from your extended family for most of your life, it’s easy not to think of them too often, unfortunately. In my grandma’s case I have to admit that I didn’t think about her too many times in this past year, though I will strive to use the anniversary of her death to reflect on her life. Last year, I shared about the challenges of staying close to family members who are far away. There were some good comments there and it’s definitely not too late to join the conversation!

14 thoughts on “One year later: my grandma

  1. Very nice tribute GNG. I felt like I almost knew her.
    May she continue to rest in peace and I pray that you will also live a long and strong life in Jesus name.
    Thank God for the opportunity to spend some time with her before her death xx

    • Thank you, Ayo. Amen to your prayers! When I think of how different my life is from my grandmother’s, how we face and faced quite different challenges, it makes me appreciate that it’s only by His grace that I will live as long as she did. I’m glad that I got to spend some time with her last year. ♥

  2. May your grandma continue to rest in peace. Both my grandfathers died young but my grandmothers are still alive, but I haven’t seen them in over a decade. One has dementia and one doesn’t. I keep praying to God to please preserve them so I can see them again. When I lived in nigeria we visited every year :(

    • Thank you, neuyogi.

      Oh, I pray that you will get to see your grandmothers soon, and that you’ll be able to spend some quality time with them. I hope your grandma’s dementia is being managed. Will you be going to Nigeria soon (hums the Wedding March in her head)? ;)

  3. It’s always hard to lose a family member. There’s always the though of “If I could’ve seen them more often, spend more time with them…” I lost two grandparents before I was born. I lost one when I was younger so I don’t remember him as much. However, I did know my grandmother on my father’s side and I was blessed to have known such a strong woman. I didn’t know your grandma Jummy but when I read that if she didn’t like a picture she’d change her outfit. Right there I see you in her. You will retake a picture until you are satisfied with the outcome. You may not have known her as much as you would’ve liked but she still shaped you through your father. We just don’t always see that link.

    She’s now reunited with her loved ones and I’m sure she has found peace and happiness with them.

    • “You may not have known her as much as you would’ve liked but she still shaped you through your father. We just don’t always see that link.”

      This! It gave me shivers when I read it just now, and almost made me cry this morning when I first read it. Thank you, Rachel. You said the exact perfect thing. xo

  4. awww such a wonderful tribute. Brings back memories. It is really hard living away from extended family members you love and care about. Its always hardest when they pass away and you did not have the opportunity to see them again. That was the case with my grandma.

    May her soul continue to rest in peace.

    • Thank you, sister from another mister!

      I’m sorry that you weren’t able to see your grandma before she passed—you definitely know what I was talking about. May her soul also continue to rest in peace.♥

    • That’s wonderful that three of your grandparents are still alive, Berry—I hope you were able to connect with them.

      There was something intriguing about the story/mystery surrounding your grandfather: did you ever wonder if he was alive but couldn’t get back home for some reason? My imagination is weaving a story around his disappearance or death.

      Thanks so much for your comforting words xo.

  5. Very touching post. I can relate because when my maternal grandmother died over two years ago, I had similar reflections on her life. She was quite a phenomenal woman, remembered for her extreme kindness and nurturing nature. I love her so much and she is my role model! She died prematurely, but I thank God for her life and the blessings I will inherit because of how she served God. Rest in the bosom of the Almighty, sweet Mrs. Victoria Chinenye Anyim!

  6. Sigh! This made me think of my grandmother. The only surviving grandparent.
    Though my thinking about her is not for the reason you would expect.
    Tis a long story.

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