She sounded so close even though she was thousands of kilometers away. Just as she has been for most of my life. All the way in England. I was hesitant to end the only conversation we’ve had in possibly a decade but when she finally said “Goodbye Angie and god bless”. I then heard her say to my mother, perhaps as she was in the process of hanging up the handset, “Well, wasn’t that lovely . . . “ in her bright sing-song voice and then finally the phone went dead.
I feel sad that I never had the chance to really get to know her, or my other grandparents, beyond birthday cards and the occasional phone call. Sad that while my parents did their best to have us visit either of our grandparents in England or New Zealand on a regular basis, in hindsight it will never be enough. Now as my last remaining grandparent, my mothers mother is unwell, I’ve been thinking more and more about her.
As we prepared for the wedding a few months ago, I gathered a number of photographs for us to display of our families on both sides. It was nice to immerse myself in memories of my family and I was fascinated by my grandmothers wedding photograph in which she wore a dark fur coat and shin length dress as she married my grandfather just a few months after the end of the war in 1945. I don’t have many photographs of us together but I did come across this one in my mothers collection while gathering photographs. It is of just me and my Grandma on the beach on my grandparents only visit to us in the hot north-west probably circa 1979. It means more to me than I can really say so I took it home, scanned it and now have it in a frame on my dresser.
Just a little memento of a woman who I know is quite remarkable that I wish I had had a chance to know better.