Thursday 8 December 2011

Dear Beloved Friend

Dear Grandma,

Two years today you glided peacefully, unknowingly from this existence. I've been thinking about you a lot recently. I miss you dearly; your sharp observations, your quiet elegance, your down to earth Yorkshire pragmatism. I miss tucking into a fish and chips tea with you soaked in salt, vinegar and brown sauce whilst cozily slumped in front of the TV.

I wasn't able to say goodbye in the traditional sense. I was heavily pregnant at the the time. Treacherous, icy weather thwarted Younger Dad and I from making the 200 mile journey up to your snowy funeral and final resting place on the Winter Solstice. So I held my own memorial at home. I bought flowers, lit incense, wrote and read out a heartfelt letter, played music, sang, ate mince pies and drank Sherry in your memory. It was my dedication to you. My thank you to YOU for many years of your warmth, kindness and love.

I shed tears but not as many as I expected to. The emotional sieve curbed much of my grief only allowing it to lightly trickle through. It was actually hard to let go. My sadness restrained. This was in part to the fact I was still carrying my baby. I didn't want my sadness to affect my little girl.

I wasn't just sad though. I was also relieved and glad that you'd passed peacefully. I like to think you were carried away like a tiny delicate feather floating and dancing ever higher on the under current of a gentle breeze.  You were ready to leave. The last five years of your life weren't pleasant as your joints twisted, froze and groaned in pain. Your fingers permanently curled as if purposefully holding onto the last vestiges of life.  You didn't enjoy the languid approach of death's embracing arms in that pee smelling living graveyard of the old people's home. 90 years was enough. It was time to go.

I remember the last time we spoke. You had the last laugh. You reminded me with a mischievous glint in your eye that I'd always maintained I would never get married or have children. Oh how things changed. I also remember reminding you that you no longer needed to hold onto anything or anyone. It was okay for you to go when you felt safe and ready.

Like the transparent innocence of a newborn's gaze the brightness of your soul shone through your sky blue eyes during those final years and months. Your perceptive stare pierced through my defence into the core of my being rendering me tearfully moved each time I spent time with you at 'the home'. We leave this material existence with the incontinence and dependency of a baby but if we are lucky also with the hushed wisdom of a life lived and the forgiveness to let go. I like to think you were blessed with this when you departed.

You weren't just my Grandma. You were a dear friend and a mother too. My memories of you are endless. Right now when I reminisce my mind conjures up images of making cheese straws on a Sunday afternoon, clumsily toppling in your silver ballroom shoes, home made chocolate and toffee, your perfectly styled hair, the best Yorkshire pudding ever and a sublime seven months living with you after a particularly bad time in my life.

So today Grandma, I raise my glass of Sherry to you.

Thank you.


  1. Sometimes there are posts that feel so personal you wonder whether it is appropriate to comment on them. And that is a little how I feel about this one, but, I felt I had to say, how heartfelt and beautifully written it was. In fact, it bought a tear to my eye.

    My Grandmother died in December too. This time of year is always a mixed bag of emotions for me. Funnily enough, I had thought of putting a letter to her on my blog. Great minds....and all that.

  2. I echo Claire's comments. Really beautifully written. I love that she had the 'hushed wisdom of a life lived' - she sounds like a great woman.

  3. I'm lucky to still have my Grandmothers and I dread ever having to say goodbye to either of them. If I do though, I would like it to be in a similar way to they way you did. I'm sure she would have adored this beautiful tribute.

  4. Lovely post. Not enough is written about people's relationships with their grandparents. I adored my grandmother, although I'm sure that because of her feisty personality, she would have made a challenging mother! There seems to be a healthy distance between grandchildren and grandparents, a lack of co-dependency, which allows us to love them and to look up to them in a less complicated way than we do with our parents. We are free to see them more as individuals I suppose. Am i making sense? Anyway, lovely lovely post. Thanks x

  5. This is lovely. All my grandparents died when I was quite young, so I never really knew them that well. I would have liked to, I bet they had a tale or two to tell. Lovely post. Polly

  6. Honestly, the way you write just takes my breath away. It sounds as though your Grandmother would have loved the way you quietly acknowledged, but then looked past, the physical restraints of her ageing body so you could fully honour her life as one that was well lived and deeply connected. Which is what life is all about really. I know that this was a personal tribute to your Grandmother but there is a lot that it has given to me. Thank you so much for sharing something so personal and beautiful.


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