Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Ode to Jeanne

Husband's paternal grandmother died last week. We went to Nantes this weekend for the funeral and meal-type activities that follow.

I met Mémé for the first time 10 years ago. She and Pépé were still living in the house they had bought when their kids were little. She was a strange mix of kind and sharp, deferential and opinionated, stingy and generous. Whenever we went for a visit, I never left empty handed. Her gifts ranged from panty hose (Pépé had worked for years at the Dim factory) to pears off the tree in her yard. But she never remembered anyone's birthday other than her husband's and she liked it that way.

Pépé died in 1999 and she really was never the same. She was one of those women whose entire existence revolved around her husband's. She didn't have friends to count on or former work colleagues she could talk to, having never invested in relationships with either. She couldn't balance a checkbook or drive a car. She was lost without Pépé and you could see it on her face.

She moved into a retirement home near Husband's parents a few years ago. She hated it. Hated the people, hated the neighborhood, hated the food and hated the change; everything was a reminder of what she had lost. Her greatest desire was to die and once again be with Pépé. There was never a doubt in her mind as to certainty of their reunion, it was only a question of when.

She was a tough old bird, she said so herself.

I hope she has found peace in the arms of her love.


beth said...

She reminds me of Inez - Inez was a tough old bird, very opinionated, she never drove, and you never left her house empty handed.

Nicole said...

Yeah but your grandma was the best cook ever.

beth said...

ok, I agree with that - I still think about her gnocchi and ravoli!

Lorraine said...

May she rest in peace.

zeb said...

Give your inlaws our best.