June 25, 2012

Good things come to those who wait.

My Grandma once told me that she had warned Grandpa long ago, “I’ll marry you, but I’m not going to be like the other wives. I’m not going to stay at home!” That was back in 1935.

She definitely had her own ideas about how to do things.

During her life she had three children, worked tirelessly as a seamstress, served her community, fought for women's rights, joined and co-founded multiple organizations and schools, volunteered for UNICEF, became a Citizenship Court Judge, got involved in politics, and received countless honors in recognition of her contribution to the Italian community in Montreal – she even met the Pope once!

Grandma was always busy, busy, busy. Instead of calling her “Bisnonna”, the Italian for “Great-Grandma”, my children gave her the special nickname of “Busy-nonna”. And my grandmother’s notion of time was elastic. While she multi-tasked she paid no attention to the clock and often kept people waiting, not least of which was my Grandpa.

My cousin and I were just reminiscing about this. We both remember our grandfather endlessly waiting for our grandmother. He was a patient and gentle person. After several hours of waiting for her to finish talking on the phone/delegating/checking documents/making pasta, he would always raise both hands and in his Italian accent he would say, “Marrrrrry…come on!” And then he would wait some more.

My Grandpa passed away twenty-one years ago; he was in his eighties. My grandmother had held his face in her hands and told him she loved him as he slipped away. She missed him immeasurably, and believed they would be together again in Heaven…

In the meantime, she kept herself busy. There were weddings, great-grandchildren and always with the community engagements. Grandma lived on and on. In my mind, she became Immortal.

Near the end she was brave…so very brave. As I’ve said before, it hurts to grow so old. But even though it was hard for her, she still kissed us, nodded and smiled, told us we were loved. And then, at the amazing age of 97, she died. So my cousin was saying that at last our Grandpa didn’t have to wait for his Maria any longer.

But if I know my Grandma, he may have to wait just another few minutes.

Time is especially elastic in Heaven!

RIP Maria Marrelli.