The end of an era…

My grandma & I

My grandmother passed away this afternoon. She was the last of my grandparents still alive and quite a remarkable woman. I wrote about her not too long ago. Although we were never the kind to sit and have intimate conversations, we have always had a very special relationship. My older brother and I were the first grandchildren of the family and while my brother was my grandfather’s favourite, my grandmother always had a soft spot for me. She was pretty much the undisputed matriarch of the family and I grew up in awe of her. I have just found out about her death, so it doesn’t feel quite real yet. She was 91. The picture above was from my last visit, back in May.

Update: For those of you who read Portuguese, my brother wrote a nice post about my grandmother. I couldn’t have said it better. Thank you for all those who left messages here. I appreciate it. As my brother said, knowing that my grandmother isn’t really gone and that she’s still around watching over us is a great consolation. Once I’m back in Toronto and have had time to digest it all, I’ll write something in her honour.

Grandma at graduation

Author: guerson

Food-obsessed historian and knitter.

18 thoughts on “The end of an era…”

  1. Dear Alex,
    I’m so sorry to read of your grandmother’s death. I lost my grandmother around this time last year, and understand that shocked feeling that comes with the phone call. It is deeply sad to know you will never get to visit again with the wonderful woman who has had such a significant role in your life… I hope you can take comfort in your memories of her, which will stay vibrant for you for years. I just read your earlier post about her and it is obvious what an amazing person she was.
    Take good care of yourself,

  2. Hi Alex,
    Bobby and I are sorry to hear of your grandmother’s death. I remember you writing about her last year and she sounds like an amazing woman. We’re thinking of you!!

    love and hugs,

  3. Margaret & Dana,

    Thank you so much for your kind words. They mean a lot.

    We knew she was going to die sooner rather than later since her health hadn’t been the best in the past couple of years. That’s the main reason Alan and I made sure to visit as soon as we were back from Spain last May. I even brought a voice recorder and recorded a long chat I had with her.

    I’m not good with funerals so I didn’t attend any of my grandparents funerals. I believe that not having seen them dead makes it a little harder to find closure.

    As it usually happens, even though you kind of expect it to happen, the event always gets you unprepared. I wish I had had more time to talk to her and hear more stories about her. She was a very private woman and most of what I know come through my mother or other family members. I witnessed her strength many times and although I haven’t always agreed with her methods, I’ve always admired her unreservedly. I just hope the family doesn’t fall apart now that she’s gone.

    I’m trying to not think too much about it as I pack up and get ready for Christmas in Spain. I’m thankful for the change and all the activity now.

    Happy holidays!!


  4. Hi there,

    I´m really sorry. I also lost my grandpa a couple of weeks ago. He was 90 and somehow the family reunited for his last days.

    Hope you can pass through these tough days with nothing but happy and good memories of her.

    Enjoy Barcelona!

    Happy holidays !

  5. Alexandra,é uma pena mas um dia essa hora chega para todos, embora nunca estajamos preparadas,né?
    Também tenho apenas uma avó viva, bem velhinha e doente e sei que a qualquer momento ela tb irá me dizer adeus.
    Felizmente você é uma pessoa muito positiva e tem muita gente ao seu redor que te estima muito para te dar força nessa hora.
    Se precisar de qualquer coisa é só falar.

    Depois que vc voltar de viagem me dê uma ligadinha para marcarmos alguma coisa, mas dessa vez vamos conversar só em Inglês para o Alan poder participar “full-time”.

    Boa viagem, tudo de bom e que vc tenha um ano novo maravilhoso cheio de coisas boas.

  6. Dear Alexandra, I am deeply sorry for you and your family, but she had a great and long life, I am sure she is fine right now. Take care and continue enjoying your trip.

  7. Alexandra,

    lembro do que você escreveu sobre sua avó. Sinto muito, é uma dor muito grande, mesmo quando a gente sabe que a avó querida teve uma vida longa e produtiva.

    Desejo de coração o melhor Natal possível para você nessa hora tão difícil e um 2008 com tudo de bom.

    Bjs bjs

  8. Sinto muito Alê…ela era linda mesmo, uns olhos espetaculares. Nao só pelo azl, mas pela força que passa. Uma pena mesmo, ainda mais numa época como essa. Força e ânimo!!

    que tenha um Natal em paz! beijos

  9. Dear Alexandra,

    I am very sorry about your grandmother. I am sure she had quite a remarkable life. May she rest in peace and continue to be a source of inspiration and strength to you and your family. You are in my thoughts.


    Much love,


  10. Wow! Thank you all SO much for your kind words. I don’t really know what to say other than that I appreciate it deep inside. I spoke with my mother before leaving for Barcelona and she said that the family was sad but also relieved that she didn’t suffer or lost her mind. My grandfather had spent 3 years on a bed with no prospects of recovery before he died and that’s what everybody was afraid of as she got older. Luckily she basically died in her sleep after being in the hospital for only one night because of a very minor pneumonia.

    I’m ok. It probably won’t hit me until I go down to Brazil to visit and I don’t see her around…

  11. Oh Alexandra, I’m so very sorry to read that you lost her –and at the same time so moved to read such a beautiful post – and the post you wrote about her in March. What an amazing woman, in a time when it couldn’t have been easy to make one of brave, heartfelt decisions you describe her having made…she made all of those! I feel I like I can see every one of those adventurous, passionate decisions in her eyes in that photo of you two together!

    It’s hard to lose people when you’re far away, at least I find it hard, and I just wanted to send good energy and thoughts and prayers to you and your family this Christmas night.


  12. This is such sad news, A! I remember your post about her from when you visited. She sounded like a great lady. I hope you’re well and that you and Allan could enjoy yourself in Europe… she would have wanted that, I’m sure!

  13. Hello!

    I am contacting you because I am working with the authors of a book about blogs, and I’d like to request permission to use a photograph of yours in this book. Please contact me at, and I’d be happy to give you more information about the project. Please paste a link to your blog in the subject field. Your assistance is greatly appreciated.



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