Babcia Stasia in her 20s.
If I live to be 89, I would die a happy and fulfilled old grandma. I hope to will have left my family in as much grief and despair as I’m now in. My 89-year-old grandma, my culinary inspiration and life role model passed away last Friday. I was lucky to have spent some time with her at the hospital before her passing, watch her sleep most of the time, and trying to fight the tears that so reluctantly forced themselves down my cheeks.
We went to Poland this summer to celebrate my brother’s wedding, to spend 2 days eating, drinking a dancing, but as it often goes, life takes its course (I promise to write a whole post about the wedding, as it deserves).
Our annual trip filled with mixed emotions of happiness of new beginnings for my brother and his bride, seeing family that we don’t get to see all the time because of the distance, lack of free time to visit and deep sadness, grief and anguish of my dear grandma passing. All that in one short week.
I am deep in sorrow, but also pride of the woman babcia Stasia was. Although she was a simple woman, but absolutely badass!
– she walked 1 mile to the hospital when she was in labor, cause she didn’t have a phone to call an ambulance. If it wasn’t for a nurse just leaving after completing a shift, who helped her to the ward, my mom would have been born on the street in front of the hospital.
– she managed to make pickles, compote, canned fruit and vegetables to last us all winter up until she was 88, ever year.
– she never drove, but managed to do all grocery shopping by herself, run errands, work, take care of the house, her daughter and later in life, us kids.
– during WWII she worked for a German farmer 7 days a week, and when Poland was liberated, she walked for miles to get back home.
– she never ate store-bought pickles.
– she taught me how to knit at the age of 7.
– she absolutely hated pumpkin pie.
– she made us chicken soup for dinner every Sunday for all of my life.
– she was the only one in our family (including my dad) who could kill a chicken or a duck, AND drain it’s blood for blood soup.
– at my wedding she danced until 5 am, until I told her it was time to go home because I was tired.
– she taught me the love of cooking and the art of giving joy through it.
- she never let anything stop her from doing what needed to be done.
Babcia Stasia giving a bath to our dog, with a broken arm.
– she never put herself first. Family was the most important “thing” and always a priority.
Her absolute one and only purpose in life was to take care of her family. We were the most important people in her life and her life revolved around providing love, food, care and support to my mom and dad and to my brother and I. She suffered greatly when I moved away, and we both sobbed every time we said good-bye.
I thought about this day for years, and knew it was going to be tough to say good-bye. Now, as I’m grieving all I find myself doing is cooking. I feel connected to her through her recipes, and by tasting the food I feel closer. This will not be an easy process and the gap can never be filled, but I’m relieved to know that a piece of you will always live within me.
You will always be loved Grandma Stasia. Rest In Piece.