I haven't written a blog in a long while. So many things have happened. So many things have changed. The biggest thing that has happened in my life in the past year is the passing of my grandma, Frances Dorothy Hunter Anderson. I don't even know where to begin talking about this woman and I certainly don't know how to begin living without her on this earth.
My grandma was my everything. She was my confidant, my teacher, my mentor, my baking buddy and my music. We started our musical journey together when I was four. Apparently (so the story goes) I heard her practicing piano and I went up to her and said:
"Grandma, I want to learn. Teach me."
She said "No, Heidi. You're too young."
I said "Try me."
Pushy? Tenacious? Feisty? Yeah. That sounds about right.
We then began our musical journey together. Every day after school, grandma would pick me up and we would have piano lessons. She tried her best to get me to pay attention to theory (God bless her) and we would have marathon lessons. Only if I was good would she allow "dessert", which meant duets. We would play for hours and hours together. She would always give me the melody. When I started voice lessons at the age of 14, grandma played for me. She would allow my teacher and I to have 30 minutes of warming up and technical exercises and then she would come in and play my songs (which we had rehearsed together.) Of course, during all of this we talked about everything.
Life. Love. Friends. Boys. Religion.
My grandma was and is the wisest person I have ever met. She was simple, clear, had a well thought out answer for everything. She also believed strongly in cookies. Basically, she was perfect. When I moved away from home to go to university on the other side of the continent (something she encouraged and supported wholeheartedly) she came with me, along with my grandpa and my mom. I will never forget my grandma's cry when she said goodbye. It broke my heart. She never looked back. She knew that I had to go in order to achieve my dreams. We wrote each other emails every day of my four years of undergrad. Every single day. There was no bigger cheerleader than my grandma. I would always come home during any break I had and we would resume our little club of two. I did notice that grandma started to change a bit- her memory started slipping and it got progressively harder to communicate with her.
Soon the diagnosis of dementia came, followed by Alzheimer's, which is just too cruel a disease for words. I didn't get home as much as I would have liked to and I will always feel guilty for that. My mom and her dedication to my grandma was absolutely stunning and a true example of love and devotion. Last November she took a turn for the worse. We all knew she was going soon. I was in Berlin working on a show. I knew I could withdraw and go home. Selfishly I have never wanted anything more. I wanted it for me, but I knew grandma wouldn't have been happy. She would have, in fact, been disappointed in me- a fate worse than anything. (She told me once that she was disappointed and it took me months and many tears to recover.) I knew when she went. I felt it across the ocean. It felt like my heart was being torn from my body- and in a way it was. I was happy for her to be freed from her body which was no longer hers. I knew she was out of pain and suffering. This was a blessing. But I was so sad for me. Thanks to my amazing sister, I was able to see the funeral via FaceTime and was able to celebrate my grandma in the only way I could at the time.
I miss her absolutely every day. She is still in my dreams. I wonder what she would say whenever I have to make any important decision. This world doesn't seem right without her, yet it keeps on spinning. She was always so proud of me and the music that she gave me. I just hope and pray that she is looking down on me, is proud of me and knows how much she is loved.