As you all know my grandma just turned 90! She is healthy, happy and so young at heart that people usually think she is in her seventies. She is quite an amazing woman.
I think you all know from previous blog posts that my grandma moved for the very first time when she was 86. She left the farm where she was born, the same farm where my great-grandfather was born, and yes, the same one my mom and aunt were born.
Anyway, can you imagine moving for the first time at 86! Yes, for the first time! We were all a bit worried for my grandma when she moved into a little, but cute, one bedroom apartment in the town of Närpes in the fall of 2004. Before she moved she used to say--- “When I walk out on my front steps here on Stenö (the farm) everything I see is mine”. Needless to say we were a bit unsure how the move would go, whether or not she would adjust. But, she amazed us all yet again. As soon as she moved in she got to know her neighbors and now I think she knows every single person living in the condominium complex. They look after her; she looks after them. They have dinners at each other’s apartments and more often they have “fika”, coffee at each other’s flats.
My grandparents on their wedding day 1939.
But, it is not so easy being old; you lose your friends too. The other day my grandma’s best friend died at the age of 89. She would have turned 90 In November. My grandma and her friend had been going thru life together. They went to school together; they got married the same year; they had their three kids at the same time; and they lived near each other. Well, at least they lived in the same village until 1959. Then my grandma’s friend, her husband, and their three kids emigrated to the States. My grandma’s friend lived in NYC and CT for close to twenty years, and then they returned to Finland again. However, they did not return to the village instead they bought a condo in town. But my grandma and her friend continued their friendship thru thick and thin. They visited each other all the time; they always celebrated Christmas together; and they saw each other at their (nowadays their daughters’ properties) summer houses every year, several times a year. Best friends.
I wonder how it feels losing all your friends one by one, seeing them go, attending funeral after funeral, and realizing that next time it might be your own?.
Of course, that goes for all of us. One day we are here, the next day we might be gone. But when you are over 80 I am sure you look at it all in a different light.
Of course, if you live to be 89, almost 90, and you were in pretty good health, then you have indeed lived a full life; a long life; a hard life; a good life; a rewarding life; a life with kids, grandkids and great-grandkids.
My grandma takes it well. She saw her friend the night before she died. They were talking, laughing, drinking coffee, and planning my grandma’s friend’s 90th birthday party. That night the friend died in her sleep--A nice way to go.
But no matter how old a person is death always, always, always comes as a shock. So we should all appreciate our loved ones when we have them on this earth. Please pick up the phone and giver your grandma, grandpa, parent or older relative a call today. You never know when it might be the last time.
Rest in peace E.S!