Let Sleeping Lions Lie

Lion

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie? Dogs are one thing; Lions another.  Here is my grandmother on top of the Lion mounted at Sir John A. MacDonald park at the waterfront of Kingston Ontario, where I visited this past week.  I happened to be over there, across the street from Kingston General Hospital where I was born (along with my father and Bryan Adams), and where she is now resting and recovering from a long week. At the age of 93, she decided she wants to be rehabilitated.  This, apparently, is unusual. Not in my family.

My mom and I had come in for a few days to help out, after a scare the Monday before.  But “Nanna” was sitting up in her chair as if nothing had happened, charming the nurses and rehabilitation staff with her spry smile and intelligent wit. One time she was getting a manicure on the one hand by my cousin, while the other hand waved in the air.  After her daily physio exercises, she would declare, “I just want to do my best.”

What is so amazing about being 93? Nothing, really. To be old is no special feat, as she will tell you quite pointedly. But to be  alive, resilient,  with cheerful attitude is a force quite unseen. I suppose it still startles some who are used to seeing people lose their will and functioning.  One nurse leaned in to my grandmother and talked loudly in her ear. My mother and I had to laugh as we whispered gently to her, “She’s not deaf.”  She hears everything, she remembers everything.  She is as sharp as a tack.

Back at her house my mom and I sorted old boxes from the basement after a flood had taken most everything.  What might have been a tedious task turned fun when we found delightful old costumes, vintage gloves, a baton-berg lace tablecloth, and some carefully wrapped photos. One was a clear picture of my great grandmother whom I had never met, Emma Bell Deacon (wife of Lawrence E. Moore – the family I have been researching all these years), and another was of a woman staring out from the 1860s in her original frame, her eyes seemed hauntingly familiar and alive…

I took the precious finds into the hospital on the last day to show Nanna. As I pulled  each one out for her to see, my mother said later that I was so captivated looking at the photos with her that I failed to notice how much she was affected: she glowed.  Nothing delighted her more than a shared obsession!  Everyone else in the room was quiet. As we talked and identified the ancestors, my younger cousin whispered to my mother in wonder, “Krista sounds like she knows all these people!”  My mom smiled and replied, “She does.”

More on that later!

Here I am with my daughter and grandmother at the Great Lion again. The faces and backdrop may have changed, but the Lion still stands, just as fierce and sturdy as ever, guarding the fortress of our native town.  I am upheld, along with my family and ancestors, by its ferocity, persistence, and Will to carry on.

It’s not so important whether someone lives; but whether they are alive while they are here. My grandmother is a testament to that.

The Lioness in us will never lay down.

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