Today is a special day for me.
It’s my Grandma’s Birthday.
However, I’m saddened that she’s no longer with us as she passed away last year. This time 2 years ago, we were in great spirits and throwing her a special birthday party as she joked about cutting the cake and keeping it all to herself. It was a special day indeed.
She’s an absolutely cracker of a Grandma and I really do admire her tremendously. She really has been a constant rock in my life. I always looked forward to seeing her on a Sunday. We would sit and talk about literally anything. She would listen to my travel stories and tell me off about all the daring adventures and misdemeanors that really in fact she’s amused about. We would laugh about anything. Her views sometimes would hilariously clash with mine and I’ll always remember a particular day when I told her I was seeing someone.
Grandma: Are you courting anyone yet?
Ed: Yes. Back in Leicester
Grandma: That’s nice. Are you protecting yourself?
Now, this truly stunned me. As an intensely private woman talking about very personal things completely flooring me, I gaped flabbergast and uttered:
Grandma: Oh that’s good to hear. You really need to protect your money from those who might be after it!
Oh, how we laughed. She twinkled at me behind her glasses knowing that she had me. I’m usually known for being silly and getting the last word but if there’s anyone who could easily beat me. It was her. And I really didn’t mind as she was my very much-loved Grandma.
So it was to my sorrow that she passed away while I was travelling in Vietnam. I really wanted to come back home for the funeral but I knew Grandma would be scolding me for doing so and tell me to keep travelling. However, I still wanted to contribute to the funeral back home to celebrate her long life. So in the end, I wrote a story of ‘Visiting Grandma’. It was read out at the end of the funeral much to my joy and acceptance. Here it is. I miss you, Grandma. You will always be in my thoughts.
A sharp buzz of the door reveals a slender figure through
the stained glass.
A pull of the door, an inquisitive face appears.
It breaks into a warm and loving smile. She knows me.
Hello Grandma, she hears.
Reaching out, she pulls me in a hug, stares up from my chest
and comments ‘you must stop growing!
Maybe she’s shrinking she hears. Her legendary look twinkles and
reproaches me with a stifled smile.
Fixing her permed grey curls, she brews her infamous teas
that no one can beat, and slips me an extra biscuit. Always have
done on every visit. She would give me 10 extra if I wanted to!
Perched on her maroon armchair, one eye on the televised snooker game and one eye
studying me through her glinting spectacles. She sorts my life out. Always she tells me
to look after money and work hard. She worked hard as a young woman. I, jealously, cannot believe
she worked at Rowntrees’ and getting lots of chocolate!
Laughing, she gives me a good run at bantering. No one can challenge her waspish
thoughts and repertoire. She’s always right. I give up.
She asks about the family and her soft voice recollects the adventures of my dad as a
young boy and man. She shakes her head at the risks he put himself through but her
pursed smile and laughing eyes shows off her proudness of her son.
We talk about Christmas. It’s coming up. Always a place for her at the family table. I tease
she’s the first one to put on a paper hat and pull the cracker. She retorts my jokes are worse
than the crackers. I look forward to her Christmas fruit cake she makes. Always, she tells that
my car needs a clean when I pick her up on Christmas Day. Even as a guest, she mucks in with
the dishes, drags me by the arm to help her at the sink, throwing a tea towel at me and to get moving!
Crossing her slipped feet, she reminisces about Grandad. It has been more than 10 years. We talk about
their first holiday abroad to Tenerife. It was a great week. She remembers the camel ride both Grandad and I did.
She makes another teapot. Sometimes, either Aunty Irene or Aunty Jeanne comes in to help
with the gardening or housework at this point. I tease that she has got them well-trained, she
laughs her dry laugh and looks warmingly at her daughters. As a reserved woman, she privately once
told me she really loves spending time with them and couldn’t have done without them. She’s proud.
As the snooker game breaks, it’s my cue to leave. She hugs me again, stares wistfully as we linger
in the hall. I cannot believe she’s 95. I kiss her soft cheek and hold her gripping hand. Still laughing, she shoos
me out of the front door and stands leaning on the side as she watches me climb into my car. I stare back at her,
waving, and drive off.
I look in the side mirror as she continues waving until she disappears from view. It has been a good Sunday.
I whisper. ‘Goodbye Grandma.’