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.

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