This morning at 8.30 I got a phone call I was expecting but dreading. It was to tell me that a lovely man had died a bit earlier today.
His name was Granda (not his real name but all my kids called him that and for respect of his widow’s privacy I won’t name him). He was 80 and had been frail, and frankly fading, for the last few months. he was rushed into hospital on Tuesday afternoon and I knew he wouldn’t be coming out.
Who was he? My “dad” and the childrens’ “granda” but only sort of. When we moved here over 10 years ago he and his lovely wife adopted us as part of their already large family and all my children have grown up being blessed with more grandparents that the children of parents from a non-divorced background would normally get. A whole extra set of wonderful warm people to tickle them, listen to their stories, bake and knit for them (that bit was Nanna!) and just generally be there and love them. I got the understanding and support that parents can offer an adult child, and the love I needed when my own (quite lovely) parents were, as they still are, over 600 miles away and I wanted a hug or some adult perspective. I love taking Nanna shopping, and helping out with wee jobs as I can fit them around life with a young family. It worked so well.
And now that has been torn apart. My children are wise and know that death comes to us all. They are all very sad but will learn to accept that is what happens in life – no one gets out of death. I worry about Nanna – they were together for 60 years – and I worry mostly because I am on the periphery of the family and as such might not get much of a say. Which is probably right, but I worry that undue pressure will now be put on her to move into the town, away from her memories and her open spaces, and that well-meaning people will try and take over, treating like an invalid and not like a woman who needs to grieve and who will then pick herself up and carry on. She’s tough in a gentle way, is Nanna. Practical, hard-working and philosophical, with a heart as big as a house, and I think, if loved and supported, she won’t need to move, but I am concerned that she will attempt to please everyone else and do what “they” think is right.
Why am I writing this? Who knows. You can’t change it any more than I can, but maybe you can spare a thought for Nanna, and maybe all those thoughts will drift her way and give her the resolve to deal with her loss and to move on with strength, finding the way to live the rest of her life on her terms. Positive thinking never hurt anyone.
Am just about to take M, my youngest, along to the cottage and see if Nanna is back home yet. I saw smoke coming from the chimney earlier so I know someone is there, it might be one of her own children or grandchildren, and I want to pay my respects.