Words On Loss And Grieving

Granma has her hands pressed together, eyes shining with gratitude

Saturday 16 May 2020 This morning we managed to get through to the nursing home on a zoom call so we could see and speak with Grace. The home is short staffed and she has been ill with a chest infection so contact has been difficult, fleeting. Mercy the always-cheerful nurse took the ipad in and spent awhile angling so we could see, but Grace’s eyes were glazed with sleep. We called Hello, wanting to tell her about last night’s family online meet up (Mr and I, in full glitter make-up, won the alphabet scavenger hunt; Grandchildren 3 and 4 both are missing a front tooth; Grandchild 4’s tooth fairy trap didn’t work - Grandchild 1 is booked to play guitar for the next one; Grandchild 5 ran off being shy, 2 was eating late, 7 was a-bed, 6 all grin and tongue; all the grown ups so refreshed by connection, all the detail she would love) but that was too much. Hello was too much.

‘Do you want to talk to me today Mum?’ Mr says, making light of it. She mouths the word ‘No.’ A twitch of humour we see, but still she means no, she is too tired even for pretty lies. We are watching her when we should be sat by her bed, holding her hand, no words needed. I want to say to her, by touch, don’t wait, find your peace.

Monday 18th May 2020 The climbing rose is blooming - I picked the first flower yesterday. The rest would have been plucked in today. A whim to let them open in the sun interrupted; to have fullness before harvest. I pressed nose to petal, went to ready myself for work. Polytunnel open, flower pots watered, washing on line. Sunglasses on, windows down, drive over open moors, take view of the glittering sea. Content. At 3pm my mobile rang. I knew. With her daughter at her bedside, the breaths of our Grace ceased today. I am at work on a sunny day, the door is open, we have the radio playing, our care-charge has cast off one sock in a deliberate act of glee. I wish to be at home with Mr, but here is not a bad place to be. There’s a lightness. Grace does not call for our tears (they will come anyway) - this soft yes to the world, to the kind small details: this is her gift. If a cake is baked, a needle threaded; these are her bequeathments. Tonight I am opening the champagne (although Grace was more of a merry-on-sherry girl.) If you would care to join us, Grace would be delighted. We will toast - To Grace, to kindness. Right now I’m typing these words, I’m thinking she is here in the breeze, in the uplift of sun, looking over my shoulder, smiling. All welcome, my darlings, she says.

Dog sits at Granma's feet, eyes shining with love

Granma reaches to pat Dog, who basks in the love


This is a beautiful tribute.
My heartfelt sympathies to everyone who knew and loved her.
Peace to all of you.
Lisa Southard said…
Hope you raised a glass :-) x
Lisa Southard said…
I often wrote about Grace, and would read her the complimentary comments posted from around the world, it delighted her to know she was able to travel like that - she would appreciate all the kind wishes we have had received, she would be blowing you all kisses.
Oh, sweetie, I'm so sorry for your loss. With my hubby in the hospital and us not being able to be together, I know how hard it must've been for you not to have been able to visit. But no doubt, she knew how much you all loved her, and she was ready. I'm a few days late, but I'll lift a glass of wine in her... and your... honor tonight. Sending you lots of virtual hugs.
Lisa Southard said…
Susan, you get hugs by return from me and my family. We appreciate how tough it is for you too xxx

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