Mary Wood, Allan's grandmother, passed away last week. She was 92. She had been fading away over the past year. She had a few bad days, was moved into palliative care, and died. I think she had what is called a good death.
I am very grateful that Mary was able to spend the last years of her life in relative comfort. For many years - more than we want to remember - she lived in precarious circumstances, alone, unable to properly care for herself, but unwilling to change. The state of Vermont declared her fit to make her own decisions, but we all knew it was madness. We were afraid she would die alone in a fire or freeze to death.
Amazingly, she moved into a senior home. Her health improved and she was able to live her final years in some measure of comfort and dignity.
Mary had a long and eventful life, and an unusual one. At various times in her life, she was wealthy and she was poor, she was active and she was isolated. We couldn't always make sense of her, but we tried to be there for her.
When Allan was a teenager, he found himself without a home. He went to Mary and lived with her for a time. Years later, when he was living in New York, we were able to bring Mary to the city, twice, and show her the sights. She had the most wonderful time - we heard that she never stopped talking about it. It made Allan and I feel really good to be able to do that for her.
Allan lost both his parents by the time he was 26, and for a long time Mary was his only family. But now he's reconnected with other relatives, especially Mary's sister Betty, who we stay with in Vermont, and her children, who are around our age. We've visited these cousins in Vermont, Maryland and Alaska. One of the next generation - I guess that would be Allan's second cousin? - and her boyfriend stayed with us for a few days while visiting Toronto.
Right now I'm especially grateful for these renewed family connections, so Mary's death is not the passing of Allan's last link to his father.
Next weekend, Allan will go to Vermont for a memorial service. Mary's ashes will be scattered on the graves of her husband and her son, Allan's father.