A couple of weeks out from her birthday and I'm thinking of her. I miss her terribly.
My maternal grandmother didn't say all that much; at least, not during the time that I knew her. She didn't need to, generally. She was pretty eloquent just using the muscles of her face, sometimes accompanied by a snort, noise or other utterance. Sometimes I wished I could work out what was going on in her head, but most of the time I just enjoyed her company. I really did. She was so easy to be around.
This afternoon, in a escapist daze (four working days until lift-off), I was reflecting on some of the traits that we shared, both physical and characteristic. (I just wrote share, not shared. Three and a half years on and I still use the wrong tense writing or thinking about her). What sticks in my mind are the adult things that we do/did - sometimes I feel quite sad that she was really the only grandparent I knew as a true, honest-to-goodness adult because I suspect I'd be better able to identify the adult in me from the other three grandparents, who I love dearly too.
Gin drinking. She had a distinctive glass that on a sunny (or cloudy, or rainy) day spat with tonic bubbles, emitted an aroma of juniper berries and quinine, and had a knobby wedge of home grown lemon in it. My mother, her sisters and I are all very partial to a 6pm-ish G&T. Even the clinking of ice in a glass reminds me of her.
Raucous laughter when particularly tickled by something. Like her, when someone says something deliberately naughty I can't bottle it up.
Most of all, potato peeling. It took me years to realise that I adopt exactly the same position as she did (and my mother does) when peeling potatoes - sans cigarette in the bottom lip. Leaning elbows on the edge of the bench with arms over the sink, one knee cocked slightly, head up to catch the conversation.
There's so much of her I wish to emulate - I know my Mum does too. There were flaws, sure, I wouldn't deny it. I don't know if the grieving process ever really finishes, but when I think of what aspects of her character I wish to possess I feel simultaneously as if I'm wallowing and yet rising above. It makes no sense.
Love her. Always.