Well, a few short months after her 100th birthday my very beloved Grandmother has left us. This morning at 5:10am GMT she passed quietly on in bed with her youngest son and daughter-in-law, my Uncle and Aunt who have been looking after her these past two years, in attendance. My Dad had just left, my brother had been there earlier. I had rung in hope of talking to her but she was already on her way and all he could do was talk to her for both of us and hope she could hear.
Today I’m exhausted, as though her passing has taken all the energy I had, sitting here on the other side of the Atlantic. I don't know why this is, I have done nothing more energetic than think of her. If anyone should feel drained now it would be my family in Canada who have been looking after her for years and who have been with her all the way – and by that, I mean their own childhoods through to her retirement, the death of my Grandfather through the last decades of her life to today, visiting her, clearing her property of brush and overgrowth, checking her fridge, talking to her doctors, fixing the boat, helping her down to the lake, spending the most valuable of all their commodities, time.
It's not easy to think that she is finally gone. I’ve been saying goodbye to her as though it might be final every time I’ve seen her for a decade or more. Every time I see her she says ‘This could be the last time, I won’t live forever you know’ and I give her a little squeeze and think secretly that she will never die. So, somehow, although I know she is dead I also know that she’s still here the way she’s always been here, with her deft fingers in my fingers and her stubborn streak shoring up my own. I can picture her clearly, clearing her throat and saying something offhand and her voice will always be in my head. She’ll always be here and so in some way I will never miss her.
Today has been emotional but not sad. The quiet, peaceful passing amongst family of a woman of more than 100 years who was ready to go is not a sad occasion but it is one for reflection. Farewell Sybil, happy passing. And I was lying. I do miss you.