Canadian in Candia

May 20, 2009

My Grandmaman

Filed under: Family — Tags: , — Miriam @ 5:29 pm

My grandmother Irene

My maternal grandmother Irene passed away on Monday, she was 92. The picture above of her and my grandfather was taken 4 years ago when I went to visit them for their 65th wedding anniversary.

My grandmother, or more appropriately “ma grandmere” or “grandmaman”, grew up in a very rural agricultural part of Quebec known as Gaspesie. I don’t remember ever going to Gaspesie, but I’m told it was a beautiful place near the Ocean.  She was an eldest child and spent a lot of her childhood helping care for her younger siblings.

On June 24th 1940, she married my grandfather, at 5 o’clock in the morning! I guess with the war going on in Europe the priest wanted to make sure they were married before he went on a trip somewhere so he told them to meet him at 5 am at the church. Their wedding reception was a meal at her parents house. They were together almost 69 years.

Over those years they had 9 children, 4 boys and 5 girls. In 1955, my grandparents decided to move to Montreal in order to better support their growing family. My grandfather has told me stories of the culture shock that came from moving to the city. When my mother was born in 1950, their small town only had one car… and it belonged to the town’s doctor. Montreal was a whole other experience.

Her life has not been easy. She had to manage her finances carefully to support her family but succeeded. She had to watch three of her children die before her, one as a toddler, one as a teenager and one as a relatively young adult, but she survived. I can’t say that I knew that much about her because I lived so far away, and she preferred that I talk about my life than talk about her past. But I know that she has sacrificed and worked so hard to raise her children right.

We will miss her, but I know my grandfather will miss her the most. She was his whole life.

So I will be going to Quebec this weekend to celebrate her life with my family. She was never rich, she was never famous, but she left behind 2 sons, 4 daugthers, 16 grandchildren and 11 great grand-children. She leaves behind a legacy of intelligence and strength. And she was loved.



  1. I love this post, probably because I’m always touched when young people pay tribute to their parents and grandparents. Before my mother died, I told her that as long as her grandchildren lived, she too would live because she lived in them. I was talking about DNA, but still, it’s a neat thought, isn’t it?

    Comment by marlajayne — May 20, 2009 @ 6:31 pm

  2. Oh my dear Miriam I am so sorry to hear this, all my sympathies to you and your mom, Big hugs to you all.
    Frances Lorrain

    Comment by Frances Lorrain Antila-Dyck — May 20, 2009 @ 11:45 pm

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