Across The Generations
A/N: This is an intensely personal thing that I wrote sometime ago. It's not a story as such and basically it's written from the heart.
To my Gran,
The "For Sale" sign went up on your house today, as I walked past on my way home from work. The sight hit me hard.
It's been over two months since you passed away and I shouldn't feel so grieved. You had a long happy life and death in the end was a blessed relief from the indignity of Alzheimer's disease.
Life continues on - as do I. But I still felt like crying this afternoon when I saw the sign. It seems to me as if a door is finally closing on a chapter of my life, never to be opened again.
They say that you never know what you have until it's gone.
I always knew that I loved you and that you were important to me. I just didn't realise how much - until now.
I was only in my early teens when Grandpa died and not much older when the other grandparents went. And I was the grandchild who you and Grandpa were perhaps closest to. For the last ten years of my life, you were the only grandparent I had left.
Now I have none. From time to time I am reminded of the fact when my niece and nephews call my parents "Nanna" and "Goong."
You were the last of your family to go. And with your passing goes the wisdom and memories of an earlier era.
I have often wondered what your life was like before?
What was it like to live during the Great Depression? What was it like to be a young woman during the 1920s? What must you have thought over the years at the opportunities the women of my generation now enjoy?
What must it have been like to see your two brothers go off to fight for their country during the Second World War? Sometimes I wish I had been older so that I could have asked them about their experiences in combat before they died.
But all I can do is access their service records and hope that the ghosts of yesteryear can still speak through them.
What must you have thought as you watched us grow up. What hopes, dreams and aspirations might you have held for us as you first laid eyes on us in the hospital.
What must you think of us now? I can only gather that your opinions on politicians were not complimentary.
I wonder what you would say then, to the news that your granddaughter has every intention of a career in politics - not as a politician, but as a person behind the scenes? That your granddaughter went and earned herself a Masters Degree in that field? Would you be shocked? Would you be horrified? Or would you encourage me to reach for the stars?
I am grateful that going back to University allowed me to have a large involvement in the last two years of your life.
Visiting you every week in the nursing home and helping to feed you was the least I could do in return for all that you had done for me. I went along so that you would somehow know that a grandchild cared.
Even though you did not know my name, I think you knew that I was a family member. It was hard to see you lying there, unable to speak, walk or feed yourself - but your beautiful smile always made it worthwhile. I sometimes wonder if I could have done more….
In a sense you haven't really died. You live on through your children, and through your grandchildren. "To live on in the hearts of those you love is to never truly die."
Thank you for your legacy of love, warmth, caring and laughter. Especially for the encouragement you gave us grandkids to dream, to imagine. As a result I can now temporarily brighten the lives of others through writing and publishing my stories on the Internet. I believe I am doing an okay job at it.
After your death and at the funeral, everyone said the same thing. That you were, right to the end, a truly great and gracious lady. I was proud to be your granddaughter. I can only hope that should I ever reach your age, that people will say the same about me.
I am grateful for the time that you were with us and will cherish the memories forever.
I hope that you and all my grandparents and great Aunts and Uncles still look down on us at times.
I know that not one of you will ever come back.
I know that not one of you will ever read this.
I know that life will continue for me and soon you will be just a warm memory.
But that doesn't mean I won't miss all of you. On the contrary….
What I would give to have all of you back for one last hug.