Today I learned that my grandmother was terrified of crabs.
This is a silly little thing, but I felt as though it were time to let myself include personal things in this blog as well. I’m always amazed, even as much as I talk with my parents, that there is so much to learn about the members of your family. You’re never done, no matter how well you know them.
I didn’t really know my grandma that well. She lived near the sea in England, where my dad is from, and so I never got to visit her much. We saved up all year to go visit for two weeks almost every summer because my dad was so dedicated to having his daughter know her family, and we’d stay with her and my granddad. But of course, I was a little kid. You’re not all that interested in “getting to know” your grandparents at that age; I had cousins to play with and new yards to run around in and all sorts of other things to distract me from them when it really mattered.
By the time I started getting old enough to know my grandma (or any adult) as a person, she was beginning to suffer from Lewy Body dementia. Over the course of 10 years it robbed her of herself, robbed us of her. So what I know about her is part memory, but mostly story.
She was a tough woman, typical British stiff-upper-lip type; but as a grandmother she was sweet and cheery, a little short and a little plump like a grandma should be. I remember her letting me help make cheese scones and calling all of us “pet” but there are so many other things I wish I could remember more clearly. She never told my dad or his sisters “I love you,” and was never a hugger or cuddler—but her love shone brightly in other ways.
So I don’t know why, in conversation today with my parents, my boyfriend’s parents, and us, all chatting over drinks and ribs about all kinds of things—England, Lebanon, wireless electricity, the Titanic’s sister ship the HMS Olympic, travelling, more and more and more—that this tiny detail about my grandmother’s phobia of small sea creatures would stick out to me the most.
I guess I just relish any opportunity to flesh out my knowledge of her. And this seemed so funny and out of place for someone I’ve always considered a snapshot of capability, strength, and a no-nonsense attitude. Don’t be silly, I’d imagine her saying of any other irrational fear.
Crabs! Of all things.
I happen to think they’re adorable.