Grandma Henrietta

I got the call this morning, the one I knew was coming. From the sound of my mother’s voice I knew what it was about. At first I wandered around in shock. I went outside, I walked around, and then it hit me: she was gone.

My grandmother, Henrietta. The one with the big heart and infectious laugh. The one who was always smiling.

Grandma and Grandpa with my little cousin Anthea.

As I sat down and it started to sink in, one thing came to mind: Easter eggs.

It’s the strangest thing the way us humans work; how something so small can bring back a tidal wave of memories. And it was something as small as an Easter egg that brought the flood of tears to my eyes. For they reminded me of her.

Every other year my grandma, who lived in London, would come to visit us in Kenya. As a child I would get excited to see her and I also would be excited for all the little goodies she would bring.

My birthday happens to fall around Easter so I would luck out with double the presents from Grandma. As soon as she would arrive, she would rush to her big purple suitcase and pull out her bag of treats. Her gifts always consisted of a fabulous toy and a delicious Easter egg.

Easter eggs!

Honestly, though i was fond of toys,it was that Easter egg that I looked forward to the most.

To be fair, it wasn’t just any old Easter egg. Oh no. It was a huge, shiny, chocolate, Cadbury’s Easter egg big enough to fulfill all your chocolate desires.

Those Easter eggs were sweet and gooey and your entire mouth and hands would just be covered in milk chocolate and you wouldn’t give a damn. My mother would have to slow me down as I ravenously shoveled the chocolate in my mouth.

And each Easter egg came with a gift. Sometimes the gifts were on the inside, some were on the outside. There would be mugs or toys or crowns inside and the mystery would just be killing you til you cracked that big egg open. And I often wondered: how does it get inside the egg?

And as I was scoffing this chocolate my grandma would laugh and hug me and shower me with love and attention.

Me with Grandma and Grandpa -1996

Every other year this was the routine. And every other year the Easter eggs got bigger and more bad ass.

As the years went by her visits slowed down and then we started visiting her in England.

Her love for chocolate slowed down too as she developed diabetes. And in her old age she was plagued with something even worse: dementia.

But when I talked to her on the phone I would still be greeted with that infectious laugh.

And I wish I could have brought her an Easter egg the way she would bring them to me. Something to make her smile.

But I know I’ll never get that chance.

Advertisements