It’s been almost a year since my maternal grandma passed away. Her name was Aphrodite and I got my middle name from her. I’ve always been so proud of that name. Not only because of how pretty it is, but mostly because it was hers. My grandma was a rare breed.
She was beautiful; small, with bright gray eyes, a stunning smile and soft, wrinkled hands. I loved her deep, long laugh and her very firm handshake, her quick walk and how she always looked people in the eye. She most certainly was not a traditional grandma. She never baked pies or cakes for us (or for her four children for that matter)- she was a terrible, terrible cook, not for lack of talent, but rather due to her deep dislike of chores or spending time at home. She loved to read and would often take out a book and read after a meal, ignoring her guests, a habit which I also have. In fact, one of my favourite stories about her is about her love of books and complete disregard for social etiquette: many years ago and while at the reception for her sister’s wedding, my grandma took out a book and started to read; her brother in law, shocked and offended, grabbed the book from her hands, while simultaneously reprimanding her; my grandma nodded agreeingly, asking him none the less to at least let her finish the page.
She was a strict mom, an infinitely patient and playful grandma and a very loving wife. She, a stubborn old school feminist with a natural affinity for charity (not so much for the sake of charity, but rather because she so loved being out of the house, traveling and interacting with people) and my grandfather, an absolute gentleman, with big, harsh hands, the cutest long ears and the sweetest smile, never leaving the house without his hat, always soft spoken and ever so gentle; together, they were one of the most loving couples I have ever seen. My grandfather equally tolerated and respected her and I think he remained both inspired and overwhelmed by her spirit till the end.
I could go on forever about her. She’s always on my mind, perhaps even more now than before. I have her name, her absentmindedness and her subtle yet firm bossiness; I’m grateful for those and also for not inheriting her flair for disaster in the kitchen. I hope I ‘ll keep finding more of her in me and I wish for a life as full and exciting as the one she had.