Saturday, 30 April 2011


My first Grandparent to die was my maternal Grandfather. He went just after my mother was born. Three months after she was born as I recall. I don't know how Nana coped with that, but she did with spades.

In its own way it makes sense that she would be the last to go - but that's not the point. The point is that she was the last grandparent to go, and that means that the buffer zone has gone, because before now there's always been this thing where my parents couldn't die because there were still Grandparents. Now there are none, so I have to accept that my parents are just old now.

They're not old, old, just old. Dad will be seventy next year, and until now that's seemed young. I guess it's not. I guess none of us are.

Because Nana was, for want of a better phrase an old battle axe. I remember her as formidable. I remember her as caring. I remember her as this thing that made me... well me. Without her it's like I have to deal with the world again. It's like I have to grow up all over again.

The only thing as bad as losing a child, is losing a parent. We're supposed to cope. It's not supposed to touch us, but it does. We know, we understand. It speaks to the mortality within us.

This too will pass. That means you too. That means all that came before and all that goes again. Every grandparent, every grandchild. Everyone.

The first grandparent to go was my grandfather. I'll never meet him and now there's nobody left who can tell me about him - but I literally wouldn't exist without him. I wouldn't exist without this amazing woman who gave me everything and did her best to give me more.

Except I have no memories of her. I can't honestly say "this was her". I can't point to a thing that makes her real. I have every memory, and I search all of them for meaning. For some thing that gives her... for want of a better word, meaning.

This was her meaning. She was. She existed. She did that most magical of things - she left somebody behind, and as such she mattered to me. I would have liked to have known her husband some more. I would have liked to understand how that changed and affected her. But I missed my chance to ask, and when I did it was too late.

The same could have been said of my relationship with her. I could have asked who she was, but I didn't. I could have learnt who she was. I could have taken the time. I didn't.

But I stand here still. I stand as testiment to her. These are the choices we make. There are the decisions we have. This is who we are. And there are some truths that are buried so deep, and are so obvious that we never think about or question them. They are such a part of us that an entire section of our self, our inner being, is based upon them.

And we really don't have a clue.

But that's ok.

Friday, 22 April 2011


24/01/08 - excerpt

Nana has a heart-attack. She survives. This I consider to be a bad thing. Not that she's had a heart-attack, the fact that she survived. It's a selfish wish, I fully understand that. If I was her I'd want it to be over. I mean I joke that she'll probably outlive me. Well half-joke anyway.

There is a selfish side to it. Her body is slowly giving up on her, slowly locking her away in the cavernous ruin that is her mind.

She's not who she is anymore, and I'd rather be able to remember her as the tough as nails old woman who could take on the world. Maybe she sees it differently. Maybe I should ask her.

21/04/11 - Good Friday

Two days ago I bought my first car. It's a silver Ford Fiesta that Steve has nicknamed the Pyjama-mobile.

One day ago I got the keys to the new house I'll be renting with Steve. It's a three bedroom that I've nicknamed the Guest House.

This morning at 2:40 my parents received a phone call telling them Nana was failing, and they didn't think she'd last long enough for my parents to get to her.

At about 3:00am the hospital phoned back and confirmed it.

She died in her sleep, peacefully. Her last memories would have been of my parents before they left for the night. They'd been seeing her every day for the last two weeks as she finally faded away. Fortunately there was a family gathering a little under a week ago, so she managed to see all of her Grand-children one last time before she went. I think she even knew who we were.

There are worse ways to go.

Thursday, 7 April 2011


Time is a wonderful thing.
Time can be short, it can be long. You can have nothing but time, you can have no time, you can be timeless.
It is the river we all swim in, the ocean we drown in. It is a seamless progression of discrete chunks. It is a valuable resource.
There is no time like the present, everyday is a new chance to turn it all around.
Time can be the harshest of mistresses, but it is the cure to all wrongs and I know of no man who would not spend longer in her warm embrace.