I’ve always had difficulties writing about her – my γιαγιά (Greek grandma).
I still do.
She’s this enigma, I cannot seem to solve. I remember bits and pieces of her. How I loved her, but now feel and believe it wasn’t enough. I never knew her, really. I know about her but not her – not her feelings, her thoughts, her emotions.
She was pretty bad ass (words I shouldn’t use, but am using), constantly on top of things. My cousins and I called her Rambo and rightly so. She had this special ability of knowing everything … or so it seemed to us little people. She was kind, but didn’t let people run her over.
She once told my sisters and I, how we would get gastroenteritis by eating too many sunflower seeds. At the time, we had been watching TV with a huge bowl of sunflower seeds. Without a thought to disagree we dumped all seeds resting in our palms back in the bowl. She took the bowl from us and went to the counter – only for all three of us to catch her stuffing her small apron pockets with sunflower seeds, giggling. All together we called out, “Γιαγιά!!!!” realizing full well she had been teasing us.
She used to close her eyes during almost each sermon. Her response when questioned or scolded for such an act was: “I’m just resting, I still hear everything the preacher says.” She always seemed very peaceful by such an act. She used to bite our cheeks in the morning, instead of actually kissing us.
Nowadays, what makes me think of her the most are animals. Today, I went downstairs to my grandparents balcony (it’s still too odd to say, only my grandpa’s and cut out my grandma), there’s a kitty we’ve been feeding and I was attempting to get her to like me. I eventually left, after spending about twenty minutes trying to pet the little thing.
And it struck me, while I stood on my grandma’s balcony… I realized something, I often neglect to pay attention. As I made all kinds of gentle noises to the kitty, I remembered how animal loving my γιαγιά had been. How I’d heard stories of cats after cats flocking to her balcony for food she so happily gave them. I remembered the night when my sisters and I found a cute little puppy stuck in the neighbor’s fence. My γιαγιά had told us to hide it out on our balcony and not tell our mom for the night. She couldn’t bear not loving cats, dogs, birds… The same way, I couldn’t bear to not love this cute little kitty.
Excited by this revelation, I wasted no time in keeping it to myself. I told my mom. I told her I found a link with my γιαγιά – a link she and my sister’s share as well. A link I believe I needed to find. One to remind me of her, because I’m slowly beginning to allow myself to forget.
I’m not good with memories of the past and of my childhood, perhaps that’s where my difficulty lies. I have a problem writing about her because I find, I can talk about her but I’m not sure how to show her to anyone.
Yet… she’s more than written words, similar to my παππού (Greek grandpa) – maybe one day, I’ll find the right words for the both of them.