I’m sorry that I haven’t called you since Christmas. I’m sorry I didn’t visit more. I’m sorry that I allowed a fight with my cousin to taint my relationship with you. I’m sorry that you felt stuck in the middle. I’m sorry that I didn’t take your age and deteriorating health more seriously. I’m sorry that I never sent you the copy of my choirs CD – I know you were waiting for it, and I know it would have brought you joy. I’m sorry I didn’t send more photos, write more letters, call more often.
I’m just so sorry.
I’m sad that I can no longer call you in the middle of the night for random chats when everyone on this side of the world is asleep. I’m sad that I haven’t done that for a long time and now I never can again. I’m sad that your family have chosen to keep your passing from me and that my mum and I had to find out through Facebook. I’m sad that I was denied the opportunity to pay my respects and say my goodbyes at your funeral, or at least send flowers. I’m sad for my mum, who has also been hurt in the crossfire. I’m sad that despite still having blood relatives at home, I no longer have any family there. And I’m sad that any hope I had of repairing those relationships is now dead too. There is no going back from this – it was the final nail in the coffin, pardon the pun.
But I’m also glad.
Glad for you, not me. I’m glad that you finally have the reprieve you’ve been longing for. You’ve been “waiting to die” for a long time; bored, restless, frustrated and lonely. Stuck in a body that just wouldn’t do what you wanted anymore. You couldn’t knit, go out for a game of bingo, write letters, go to church to light your candles, or do any of the things that gave you joy. You hated what the world has become and you wanted out.
And I’m grateful.
I’m grateful for the lessons I learned from you: It’s thanks to you that I can knit while watching tv, play four bingo sheets at a time and make a good brew. I’m grateful that you got to meet your great-granddaughter. I’m grateful for our last conversation when you told me that I was clever and funny, like my Dad.
I’m grateful that you were my Grandma.
I can only hope that now you can finally Rest In Peace. But knowing you, you’ll be up there doting on Dad and Grandad, fetching pints of lager and cooking your famous fry-ups! If there is a Heaven, that would be your version of it.
Goodbye, Grandma. I love you.
Vale, Mary Agnes McDermott Peake (22/06/1927-21/01/2016)