My reading was scant last month, only 4 books. What they were isn‘t important, and there will be no reading report for April. I read them more as a way to distract myself than for enjoyment. More important things took priority over reading. I do not consider school work – of which I had plenty –more important than reading for fun, especially since I am not aiming for a degree, but other things are more important, even for a confirmed bibliophile. Such as family.
My grandmother, my amma, died on April 18th, the last day of winter. I loved her more than just about anyone, except possibly my parents and my brother. I miss her terribly.
She was in a rest home, then in hospital, then in a hospital hotel, then again in hospital, and finally in a recovery home for the final four months of her life and I visited her every day except for the Easter holiday when I went north to stay with my parents, and the 10 days I spent at home with the flu (which I caught off her the second time she ended up in the hospital). All that time she was weak and tired but always alert and clear-headed, and we talked of all kinds of things, both trivial and important, looked at old photographs and told each other stories. I will treasure that time, despite the pain it gave me to see her slowly get weaker and more frustrated with her situation. One day she took a turn for the worse and three days later she was gone.
Sometimes it feels as if she is still here. At those moments, it is not in the recovery home I feel I will find her, but at her house, ready to feed me pancakes and coffee and show me her latest craft project.
She rests in peace, free of pain and illness at last, in a beautiful little country cemetery. She chose her final resting place herself and wrote a lovely hymn that was sung at her funeral, in equal measure a goodbye and a declaration of faith. Wherever her spirit is, I don‘t know, but I do know she is happy and healthy. It does not make the loss of her any less painful.
We shared a love of books and reading. Saying I got my love of reading from her would be to undervalue the role my mother played in that process, but amma did encourage it and gave me free access to her library and never tried to censor my reading or push particular books on me. I am now the guardian of some of her beloved books, books that she kept in a place of honour in her living room. I know that when I look at them and especially when I pick one up to read it, it will remind me of her. Which is as it should be. She lives on in the things she left behind and most of all in the people she left: her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.