Besides living in one house with our parents and the parents of my dad, my sister and I spent a week, if not a couple of weeks every summer with the parents of my mum. My grandparents M were both teachers and my earliest memories with them are those of painting, of story telling and of walks through the parks including questions what the name of this plant here or that tree over there was. At least this is what my memory tells me.
Over 20 years ago, my grandma was diagnosed with leukaemia. For over 2 years, she went through chemo therapy but I don’t recall being at the hospital often. She remembers the shocked 10 year old who could hardly believe that the cheerful and strong grandma she always knew was the same thin woman sitting in that wheelchair.
This, hard to believe, is 20 years ago. And, while my other grandparents died at old age a few years ago; she and my grandpa are still with us. It even seems that the older I get, the more I need them. They lived through many harsh moments and still, they inspire confidence, gentleness and a belonging that is hard to describe and even harder to find anywhere else.
As time moves on, I don’t know how much longer I’ll have such a place to return to but I do know that I have been gifted by their presence.