As March began, it occurred to me its now 3 whole months since my second grandmother passed away, this time at a ripe old age of 89. It was October 15 2011 that my father’s mother passed away from pancreatic cancer. This time it was December 5 2016.
I realise as I see death occurring around me, that there is absolutely nothing beautiful or dignified about death. Doctors, funeral parlours, literature and television may try to make it seem like something natural or ok, but its not! They mean well but they are wrong. Losing a loved one is never nice! Death is not natural, death is not the way our lives should be, death is not ok.
My Granny lived a good and long life, she never got any dreaded diseases like cancer or heart disease, she never had diabetes or any other possibly life threatening chronic ailment. She just, grew old. Her body wore out. And in the last few years, months or even days, she showed her age so much in her physical appearance. But her mind was alert to the end, and she was always such a sweet soul.
But her 89 years, were so colourful, and full of life. She was such a great woman and she had an incredible life. I can only be thankful that we have a hope for the future, a hope to see her again. Without that hope, I don’t know where I would be.
Although I haven’t had to grieve too much in my life, and I am so thankful that the only people close to me who have passed away were ones that I truly got to know. Not only as a child, but as an adult, I got to know my grandmothers, I got to have deep and long conversations with them, to learn much about their youth. Many people don’t even get to grow up with two parents, I have had two, happily married parents and 4 amazing grandparents. I grew up knowing and having a very good relationship with them all. They loved me very much, and made great efforts to know me and let me know them and I always could feel that.
When more than half of my aunts and uncles moved to the other side of the world with my cousins, I barely got to know my cousins. But I was the lucky grandchild that got the lion’s share of my grandparents.
Getting to sit and go through old black and white photos printed on thick card and getting a history behind each photo was priceless, even photos of her grandparents. Hearing first-hand the story of how she came to South Africa from Denmark on a boat, how she raised 4 children, and lived on a farm. About the times as a teenager when she used to catch the train into the city and go dancing all night long. She was an incredible woman. And having her as a constant feature in my life was such a privilege.
I miss her dearly, sometimes it doesn’t even feel like she is gone, it feels like I should
be able to just pick up the phone and chat to her. I want to be able to send a photo of a butterfly to her, or bring her a sprig of lavender. Every time I hear a clip of Chopin, I close my eyes and feel like I’m a little girl watching her granny playing the piano. Strong coffee, and cuddling ginger cats make me think of her. The fire in my soul that makes me imagine I would be great with her red hair makes me remember how she as a child wished she didn’t have red hair.
But I don’t wish to grieve. Since everyone’s grieving is different, maybe this is my version of grieving. I choose to be positive about seeing her as a young woman again on this beautiful earth, tending to her daffodils. I choose to be thankful that I got to know her, and love her like I did. And I cherish the fact that I still have two incredible grandfathers whom I love so dearly.
Perhaps on another post I’ll tell more about her younger life and the amazing stories she told me. But not today. Today I just think how much I miss hugging my granny and making her laugh at my idiotic antics. I can’t wait for the future when I can do that again.