Feb. 19th, 2013

cybik: (books)
My grandmother died today. She would have been a hundred in June. I'm sad that I have been thinking "what a pity she didn't make it" rather than being glad of those things that she did have. A life so long has many sadnesses but also so much that's good. She had three children, the eldest being my dad. She was married to my grandfather for over sixty years. She lived in a lovely area of the country. She had grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was loved.

But still, I am sad. Of course I am sad. She's gone, forever. Irrevocably. I won't see her again. I will never again be beaten by her at Scrabble (I remember winning against her once. I felt like I'd won a Nobel prize, like I'd walked on the moon. She was a demon at Scrabble, possibly the most frustrating opponent I've ever had at that or any game. She'd block every move you could think of making until you were able only to spell out words like "this" and "it", while a beautiful seven-letter word languished on your rack).

She had a stage whisper that she used when my grandfather was still alive to talk about him. Not that, despite her loudness, my grandfather would hear. He was quite deaf. Once when my parents were visiting them, my granddad decided he would pay for the tea and cakes they were having while my mum and gran went to find a table. The lady at the till asked him whether he wanted sugar with the tea. "Do we have sugar in our tea?" he yelled across the teashop to my gran. She rolled her eyes and whispered to my mum, loudly, "We've been married for sixty year and not only does he not know whether I take sugar in my tea, he doesn't know whether he does!"

Granddad died a few years ago. More than a few. A decade. Time flies. If Granny had died first, I think Granddad would have followed quickly after, but Gran was more independent, more capable of looking after herself. She lived alone in the flat they had shared on the Scilly Isles until a horrible illness - some kind of growth inside that paralysed her - made it necessary for her to live in a nursing home. She lost the use of her legs, one arm entirely and much of the other. She spent her time watching television because there was little else she could do. I don't like remembering her like that. It has been a few years since she moved to the nursing home in Croydon, far from the sea, and my memories of her before are already fading. I want to remember her as she was years ago. She painted pictures of animals, which she sold to tourists. She was a member of St John Ambulance, something of which she was very proud. I feel sad that I didn't know her better. I was the youngest grandchild and lived so far away, but that shouldn't have stopped me. So I feel regret. I don't want to feel regret. So instead I remember that I knew her and that I loved her. She was my grandmother and I will miss her.

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