Saying Goodbye?

She’s 92, she’s had an amazing life, a life of independence and mental vitality. She’s my Grandma. She is in Wales, I am in New Zealand. We’ve written to each other frequently these past ten years that I’ve been away. We’ve enjoyed brief encounters. She’s commented, in wonder, how lucky she is to have seen her Great Grandchildren arrive (she has six).

The last time I saw her was three year’s ago. My oldest daughter, Charlotte, was 10 month’s old. The last time I saw her it was a tearful farewell. I parted to visit friends and she shared a G&T and a tear with her daughter before journeying back to her home in Wales. I remember walking around ‘Fleet Pond’ and seeing the joy in her face at watching three generations walk before her.

Great Grandma, Grandma and Great Granddaughter (April, 2004) :

These past few years she has said, increasingly, that she shouldn’t be here, it’s time she passed on. Her dear six sisters have already made the journey to the afterlife and her husband too. He passed in the night, a heart attack, having been ill with alzheimers for a few years. The last year of his life she was ‘like a brick’ caring for him where others would have given up.

She was born in the First World War. She’s survived breast cancer and always put others ahead of herself. She’s a spirited lady, independent to the last.

A fall in her kitchen a few weeks past has taken away her independence. Up until that point she was still attending Church, walking to town and back and along the promenade in Penarth. Being in a hospital is no place for an independent lady like herself, she wants to go, she wants to be at peace. We all hope for a long life and to pass in our sleep, it is what she deserves and it is for us, her relatives, to let her go.

I have two young children. I want to get on a plane tomorrow to see her, but it isn’t fair on my children. We are booked to go to the UK in July, for two months. Tonight I thought I’d change my flights, go it alone with my children, but it would mean leaving my husband, with work commitments, alone for two months. My children need their father and the rich tapestry of life has to keep on weaving its way.

My mother has the support of her sister and her husband. This is time she needs. It looks very much as though my Grandmother may pass this week (but, perhaps, a miracle will restore her spirit and give her more time). A part of me so wants to be there, but then I know my mother will feel under extra pressure to ensure myself and my daughters are well accommodated for and I don’t wish to add any extra stress.

If my Grandmother passes, I will say my farewell in my own special way. I will journey to the beach and visit my local church. I know the spirit knows no boundaries. Where she is going time and space are irrelevant, her spirit will know I am here, thinking of her, always. She is someone I will forever look up to and proudly model my life upon. I wish to do her proud.

On the beach this morning, I grabbed a few minutes to write this postcard to her and had an intense feeling she would never hold it in her grasp (I am e-mailing this photograph to my father, in the hope he will be able to give it to her, along with a personal letter of admiration).

Delaying my visit, will give my mother something to look foreward to. I spoke to my mother this evening and she knows she is so very fortunate to have enjoyed such a long and special time with her mother in her life.

Perhaps my Grandmother will pull through, but I know by the tone of my mother’s voice and the doctor’s words that this isn’t likely. Tears roll down my face as I write, but God has given me the gift to express myself this way and this brings me so much comfort. I shall let my emotions pass on paper and keep my chin up in the morning for my children’s sake. Life should be celebrated and my Grandmother’s life is certainly one to rejoice.

I may not have the chance to say, ‘Goodbye’ in person, but I don’t believe this is goodbye, only, ‘Farewell till the next life.’ I will miss her letters and will miss writing to her. She always told me I should write a book and perhaps I should at least try – in her honor. Grandma, know I will love you always. Thank You.