Tag Archives: death

5000 Miles Away

Just after midnight here, at home it was about 9 am yesterday, my grandmother left this world.

I should, perhaps, feel sad. But, so far, I feel thankful. Very few people get to my age with an intact grandmother. She sent me a happy birthday email the day before she died. At almost the same time, I sent her an email with these flowers:

I should, perhaps, feel guilt, because I wasn’t there for her at the end. But, so far, I’ve been remembering happily our last few visits. Before we left, I took her youngest great-grandchild to see her. Our last visit was our regular Wednesday night: sharing a glass of wine and laughing together as we watch British sit-coms. Our good-bye ritual is for me to put each of her two dogs in her lap for some loving attention. So, she got to say goodbye to the pups, even though we didn’t know it would be their last goodbye.

Going somewhere? We will miss you.

At some point I may have different feelings, you don’t lose someone you have known for 57 years all at once, you don’t really lose them at all in some ways, and being so far away I haven’t perceived the changes in my life landscape yet. But, so far, I am not feeling regrets because I wasn’t there last night. Just happiness that I spent as much time with her as I have over the course of our lives, and it was very good time.

I am going to miss her, but, boy, am I lucky to have had her in my life.

This is the end…

Like foreshadowing in a novel the email I got this morning told me that today’s prompt was “Final“. As seems normal of late, I felt like there really wasn’t anything I could add to the conversation. Since I got back from China on April 24th I have been tongue tied…or more accurately keyboard and camera tied.

The phone rang while my husband was in the shower. It was the wife of a friend of his, the one he was getting ready to go visit. His friend died this morning. After a long and arduous battle with cancer.

The mixed feelings that go with this end came through as she spoke to me, almost a stranger to her (the friend was my husband’s co-worker and we only met a couple of times). Perhaps it was easier to talk to a sympathetic, disembodied near stranger. It reminded me of something I used to say when I was in a lay leadership position: we are all pastoral care givers, it isn’t something that you can delegate.

She invited Richard to come and say goodbye, and said “he is as handsome as ever”. He will be handsome forever in the eyes of his best, best friend…a beautiful finale.