I'm normally a cheery type of gal but this evening I have the arduous task of telling the kids that Granny Turley died earlier today. Kids are so succinct too - no doubt they will some it up in some heart breaking sentence that will make it difficult to hold back the tears. This is not the first time I've had to do this. I prepared my eldest for my father's death some years ago by telling the truth to which he replied "You mean his heart will stop beating?" I've never forgotten his words, so succinct, so final. I've already told him today's news. He's now 16 and as a teenager he is absorbed in his own life so in a way it will be easier for him but later I must tell the younger ones who will take it much harder...their memories of Granny and wonderful times in her garden will still be fragrant and fresh.
You know, I think it is very important never to underestimate the grief of small children. I always remember the total devastation I felt when my own grandmother died. We were very close and even today people remark upon our similarities in our looks and personalities She too, had a streak of madness and had she been alive today no doubt she would have been penning her very own "Diary of a Mad Grandmother." Occasionally, I still wear some of her hats; she was a furrier by trade in the days when that was an acceptable way to make a living that way. Like her, I tend to wear them in a quirky fashion. I still have a pair of her shoes in the wardrobe...
But the thing I remember most is that I never had the opportunity to say goodbye to her and to tell her that I loved her.
However, it's not easy being a parent. Each child has a different relationship with their grandparents. Some children would be devastated to see their loved ones on their death bed but for others it would be healing...and then you have the enormous task of dealing with your own grief too. There is no right or wrong answer, no set course... but death is hidden away these days, often ignored. It shouldn't be.For it is as much a part of life as birth and something ultimately we will all one day experience.
It always saddens me that many people do not or cannot acknowledge another person's grief. Sharing emotions, be it love, pain, joy or sadness is what makes mankind truly special... what should enrich our lives...but it seems we are losing our way in this materialistic, greed-orientated world; money over morals, politics over passion, labour over love.
It will be our undoing.
Life brings lessons; sometimes bitter, sometimes sweet. I learned mine long ago, the day my grandmother died. I regretted that I'd never told her I loved her and when my father lay dying I was able to find the words and tell him I loved him... and I'll never forget the look on his face.
And so the time approaches.I always knew that Lion King video would come in handy.
The Circle of Life.
Granny Turley, Jacob and Benedict in 2005. Happy Days.