So, I was going to write a blog post or two about our summer road trip, our 3,500 or so kilometers and 4 countries (and yes, the sound of music tour).

But then we got home and the rentrée has been BUSY, but also about a hundred times easier than the past two years. I was going to call that post ‘third time’s the charm’ because I finally feel like I’ve a clue what’s going on.

But then grandma died.

I knew this would probably happen while I was here, on the far side of the globe. Even when we first left NZ, two and a half years ago, I wondered, as you do when you’ve got grandparents in their late 80s and you move to the other side of the world.

Louis and his great grandparentsGrandma and Grandpa with Louis, just before we left NZ.

I’m 29 and a week ago I had 3 living grandparents. All in all, I’m incredibly lucky. I spent ten years of my life living just a few kms away from Mum’s parents, and school was a stone’s throw from their house. We spent a lot of time with them, until we moved to the south island, but even at that distance, we had skype, and often twice annual visits, and a foundation of knowing one another well enough that a bit of distance didn’t freeze us up. On seeing each other there was plenty to catch up on, plenty of connection.

grandma and baby LouisShe took a lot of good photos with Louis, turns out.

And now, I’m on the far side of the globe and everyone, even my sister who lives in Ohio, is coming together to mourn and celebrate and all that… but not me. We visited at Christmas. Things had deteriorated. I said goodbye and knew. I thought I knew and it turns out I did.

grandma and big Louislast wee cuddle, last January

Funny how fully expecting a thing to happen doesn’t actually make all that much difference to how you feel when it actually does.

Grandma was (past tense)
a great artist
mistaken for the queen
by six year olds
hostess of a hundred afternoon teas
taught me how to make beds with hospital corners, andailsa caradus
that cross-stitch should look the same on the back
that a thimble can be worth a lot of money
that jelly beans aren’t just for kids
that its worth crossing town for just the right frame
or cup of tea and sandwich.
Believed in quality.
Believed in a lot, in fact,
but not in hell
and not in drink
proud great grand daughter of temperance suffragist
stubborn and generous

Grandma is (present tense)
fondly remembered,
and a link between me
and so many wide-spread people,
a lot of whom believe she is (present tense)
still going strong on another plane.

party, grandmagood sport, Grandma

(proving to the great grandkids, that a party hat is nothing to be afraid of)

2 thoughts to “and then

  • David Caradus

    Was nice to read this Amy. Some lovely photos too. I am also not able to attended grandma’s farewell as I have to keep working. Makes me feel sad every time I think of it but she would have wanted me to stay out here and keep flying the planes.

  • Erin

    Beautiful post, Amy. She DOES look like the queen (not just in the eyes of 6 year olds). I too, know what it’s like to lose a grandparent when abroad. The third week after we moved to France in 2012, I lost my grandpop (Dad’s dad). We shared a birthday month (separated by 60 years and a mere three days). He taught me tons of stuff like how to work with my hands and that if you’re going to do something, do it right the first time (measure twice and cut once theory). I could go on. But he was a great man and will be remembered well. Looks like you had a great grandmother too. My heart goes out to you and your family. Especially you guys, as I know how hard it is not to be able to go and be part of the family during this time. Sending you big hugs over the internet.

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