Thread a Needle

2021-ongoing

My grandmother passed away on my birthday. I remember feeling strange when I heard the news. I was endlessly sad. But I was lucky enough to feel my granny’s warmth and care right up to the age of 27. 

After a while, I began to look through the family photo archive. And I noticed something: there are much more photos in which Grandma is depicted with someone than photos where she would be alone. This resonated with me because in the last year before she died we talked a lot about loneliness. Granny was sick and needed constant care, my grandpa and my mom were always by her side. Despite this, she complained that she felt very lonely. And looking at faded old photographs of Grandma smiling surrounded by friends, it’s hard to guess her feelings. 

This paradox made me think — what do I even know about my grandmother? To my shame, not very much. But I sincerely considered her to be my closest person. I don’t know, maybe this is how human memory works, maybe this is feature of our family relationships, but I am rediscovering my grandmother for myself after she left. At the same time, learning her craft of beadwork, it’s like I’m creating a portrait of Grandma, gradually embroidering it bead by bead. 

I’m getting to know her again. Not as a person I love-just-because-that-is-my-grandmother, but as just a person.