My grandmother


When I was a little, little girl my mom got sick and was hospitalized. A single mother at the time, her family stepped in to care for my brother and me (my sister wasn’t born yet).

I went to live with my grandparents (my mom’s parents) and my brother went to live with our aunt and uncle. I think the family split us up because we would have been a handful together.

Being so young, I barely remember that time with my grandparents. What I do remember are like snapshots in my mind. Polaroid moments of unpacking groceries in the kitchen. Playing dress-up with my grandmother’s jewelry, hats and scarves. Sitting at their big dining room table eating lunch.

The experience created a deep and lasting bond between the three of us. One that has endured well into my adulthood.

My grandmother passed away on December 5th. And in living a life where my grandmother has always been there, it’s difficult to accept that she no longer is. I want her to be in my life always.

My grandmother looks so serious here but in life she was always laughing.

There is a poem by Dylan Thomas that I studied in university called Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night. Do you know it? It always struck me as beautiful, both in cadence and in meaning. In it, the speaker of the poem asks his father several times to “rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

But my grandmother was very sick. Battling cancer that eventually crippled her body and kept her in constant pain. I wouldn’t want her to continue suffering like that. It would have been selfish to ask her to keep raging, to keep fighting.

Her funeral is today in Parksville, BC. I’m not attending which may seem strange, even uncaring to some. It’s not that I don’t want to be there to pay my respects.

There are many reasons I’m not attending and while I won’t go into the details, I can say that my husband, Sweet Girl and I will make a trip out west in the spring to the cemetery where my grandmother will be put to rest today.

She will be buried beside my grandfather, companions in the afterlife as they were in life.

My grandmother was pretty awesome. She loved to play practical jokes and sing silly songs. She loved to garden and taught me an appreciation for flora and fauna (even though I never did inherit her green thumb). She was the best cook around; everything always tasted better at Grandma’s house. She was a sharp dresser, a lady with style.

Ursula and Heinz Pohl, 1961. What a handsome couple.

My grandmother told me to use my head and my heart to make life decisions and that if I did I’d never go wrong. My grandmother had a wicked sense of humour and could find the funny in almost every situation. My grandmother could speak multiple languages, and she was the best storyteller. My grandmother was passionate about life and had an opinion on everything.

Most importantly, I remember that my grandmother took care of me when my mom couldn’t.

I’ll miss you, Grandma. Every day.

My mom, Sweet Girl and me with my grandmother. September 2010.

5 Responses to “My grandmother”

  1. Connie

    Melany what an wonderful post about an amazing woman. I know you must miss her so much. She will be so proud to know how you’ve honoured her and remembered the great life lessons she taught you. Love to you and your fam.

  2. Nancy

    Late to the party, as usual, but wish to add my condolences on the loss of your Grandmother. My ‘Oma’ passed away when I was 8, so I envy your added years with yours – and understand that you will feel her loss that much more. She sounds like a truly wonderful person. In my opinion, she couldn’t be anything but proud and happy for the wonderful woman that you have also become.

    • Melany Gallant

      Oh Nancy you’re so sweet. My grandma was pretty awesome. I’m sure yours was too. It’s hard to say goodbye no matter how much time you’ve had with a loved one. Your Oma must be very proud of you as well. 🙂

  3. ingrid

    Nicely written Mel. Mom would be very pleased with it. I so miss her…it is just strange being an adult orphane.


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