Today I carried my first coffin.
Today I said a final goodbye to the first of my two grandmothers.
There was a great turnout for the funeral. Lovely to see so many members of the family who I so rarely encounter. As my gran requested, there was nothing overboard or ostentatious. Just a nice church service, a few words from a minister and a pleasant late lunch for the 60-or-so who turned up.
I overheard my little cousin asking her mum, “Is that granny gone now?”
Yes, Louise. She is. And the world’s that little bit less bright as a result.
After a very brief and sudden illness, one of my grans passed on this morning.
It’s been a while since I posted anything actually personal on this blog, but I feel this justifies a few words. I only wish I had a decent photo to go with it. Unfortunately all the pics I have of her are actual old-fashioned ones on paper, stored in a drawer a few miles away and I don’t have access to a scanner anyway.
Instead I’ll have to paint you a picture with words. She was 88, which is a great innings by any standard. The thing is, I don’t really remember her looking any different in all the years I knew her. She was just my gran. The little old lady with the white hair who fussed over me and kept buying me sweets. My kind of woman.
If I had to pick one character trait of my gran that stood out more than any other, it was that she always went out of her way to make other people’s lives easier. She was always there to help and hated being a burden on anyone else. Right up to the end she was fussing over us when we visited her in hospital as we were going to far too much trouble on her account.
One thing I remember her telling me only a couple of years ago is how her cooking wasn’t up to that of my other gran. She could “only” manage to rustle up a ham roll on the afternoon I visited.
Let me tell you something – and I bet all of you who know/knew your grannies will agree – a ham sandwich put together by a little old lady who means the world to you is more tasty and nourishing than any 5-course meal slaved over by some self-important TV chef.
I have loads of memories of my gran and I’m really happy to say that I managed to see her quite a bit over the last few months once I returned to the UK. Something I’d not have managed had I stayed down in England or continued travelling abroad.
Right up until the end I don’t think she appreciated how special she was to all of us. The thought simply wouldn’t have occurred to her. She was just… herself.
And that’s why I loved her and why I’ll miss her.