Are and were

I had to catch myself last night…

My nan passed away yesterday afternoon, and how do my family cope with it? By playing board games.

We played a game called Logo, where you have to name the product, finish the jingle, etc. A card came up with four pictures of biscuits: Iced vovos, Raspberry Shortcakes, Triple wafers, Spicy Fruit Rolls.

“These are four of nan’s favourite biscuits, all on one card!” I said. Catch. “I mean, were.”

It didn’t seem to upset anyone, thankfully.

There is a lot to be thankful for about yesterday, actually. Personally, anyway. God was very kind.

Being a public holiday, I didn’t have to work. If I had, I wouldn’t have been able to see her before she died. As it happened, I was planning to go to the city yesterday, to work on an assignment at the only library I could find was open on a public holiday. But then a friend texted me to ask if I wanted to hang out after lunch. I don’t get to see her very often, so I decided to stay home and wait for this date.

Later I got a call from the nursing home. Nan was going down hill and it might be a good idea to come in and say goodbye, at least before dad went away. I told my friend I couldn’t make it. I rang dad. No answer. I went home. He’s sitting in his dressing gown at the dining room table (at two in the afternoon). He had been planning to visit her anyway, so he got dressed and we went together.

She didn’t look good. It had been a few weeks since I had seen her, because she had been in hospital. Last time, she had been alert and recognised both of us. She had been so happy that we had visited. Yesterday, she looked very thin; all you could see was her face, but she looked so gaunt. She didn’t wake up. Dad and I chatted for a bit, then kissed her forehead and went home. Dad arranged for Nat, Paul and Mick to go and visit. They went.

Three hours later, she was gone. It’s sad. I had a cry and prayed. But it’s also a relief. It’s been such a long time coming, that it was just a matter of time. We had already started grieving in a way.

Today I have the day off to be by myself, and also to be available to help with making arrangements. I’ve never been involved in organising a funeral before. It feels very grown up.

She was 89.

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