I remember how my grandmother used to say that food she liked (desserts, generally, Nana had a huge sweet tooth) were "out of this world". At least I think I remember her saying that. It seems like the memory fits, but I can't seem to conjure up a specific instance. It bothers me that I can't. I'm losing my memories, which is ironic considering the circumstances. My grandmother only died a few months ago, but the grandmother I knew and loved had already been gone for many years by then. With each passing year another piece of her personality fell away. With each memory that disappeared, a piece of her essence, of what made her her, disappeared along with it.
I didn't really grieve when she died. The grandmother I knew and loved, my grandmother, my Nana, had been mourned slowly, painfully, with each family connection she lost. First, she forgot my children's names. Then, she forgot I had children. After that it was my husband. Eventually, she had trouble remembering who I was, one of only four grandchildren. Near the end, she didn't even understand that her husband of sixty years had died, which I suppose was both a curse and a blessing. She didn't remember her own mother had died over 35 years before and kept asking to visit her, but she didn't recognize that the woman she was asking was her own daughter. Her only daughter. How do you grieve for your mother when she's sitting right in front of you? I don't envy my mother that, and truth be told I was grateful I lived on the other side of the world and didn't have to witness the decay firsthand.
My grandmother, the Nana I remember, was a gourmet cook who wouldn't let you up from the table until you'd eaten the equivalent of three entire dinners. She and my grandfather took my sister and I to Disneyworld when I was 12, traveling 24 hours on the autotrain because they couldn't get us a flight. She loved to pinch her grandchildren on the bum, saying "who's got a better right?" She never met a girl who wasn't pretty or a boy who wasn't handsome. During a visit to Israel fifteen years ago she conveniently "forgot" that the cakes she so loved to order for dessert would always come slathered in whipped cream and chocolate sauce, and would feign surprise as she delightedly ate every last drop (after having refused most of her dinner, saying she wasn't hungry). Or was she not pretending to have forgotten at all? Was this the earliest stages of dementia making their appearance? A cute eccentricity, or something infinitely more sinister?
I miss the Nana who would always bring back candied almonds from Portugal, which I loved, together with those awful crocheted collars, which I didn't.
I miss talking with her about the boys I dated, and the way she later teamed up with my husband's grandmother when they happened to be spending the winter in the same Portuguese apartment complex. The two of them had the wedding reception planned through dessert years before we ever got engaged - and then denied any scheming whatsoever.
I miss the grandmother who thought every new dessert was "out of this world".
She's been gone for a very long time already.
The Sunday Scribblings prompt for this week was "out of this world".