Published in “Opening Boundaries: Toward Finnish Heterolinational Literatures” (2019)
“Life is rather short, Lucia.”, grandma would say when I visited her at the Home. I never knew why she always wanted to give me a lesson. Maybe she wanted to expend her wisdom on her grandchildren. As time went on and the more isolated she became, she would disburse her knowledge on anyone who would listen. The nurses looked experienced. The warmth in their eyes had died a long time ago. They kept their distance, remaining as professional as possible while getting their job done.
It was difficult to watch my grandmother pass slowly. Over the years, she had taken care of me. She had gone from a figure of authority to one who needed supervision. I dreaded such a future.
“If only you are as lucky as me, Lucia. You will see many great things in your life.”, she said once. I didn’t know what to say. I was numb to my surroundings and the pressures of work and bills piled on daily. I hardly had a life. I didn’t want to get sarcastic with grandma, so I would keep quiet. I wondered how she could be so positive given the state she was in and the depths of her pains.
Grandma passed a little while ago. I still can’t believe how she took care of herself and prepared herself every morning only to sit around the nursing home, usually by herself. I realized I learned many things from her, often too late, and most of it after she passed.
“You’ve come a long way, Lucia. But there’s still a long way to go.”, she reminded me the last time I ever saw her as she asked me to help her with her makeup.
I dropped my head that day when I left the Home and I finally understood what she meant.