Saying Goodbye

So if you read one of my posts a couple weeks back, you would have probably gathered that someone special in my life was about to leave our world, and go for the ‘long sleep.’  Well this morning, she closed her eyes for the last time.

My grandmother, Gogo, Gog’s as she became known in my later years, fought her battle with cancer bravely and with dignity, and this morning, in the UK, succumbed to her illness, and passed away peacefully, with family around her.  A part of me is grateful that I did not see her in her final months;  she was always so spritely and active, hated sitting still or having nothing to do.  As it is with so many cancer patients, she couldn’t even put herself to bed, go to the bathroom or bathe herself towards the end.  My dad was able to go over and see her, something that I’m grateful for, as when his father died just before his 21st birthday, he was not allowed into his hospital room to say good-bye, which is a total crock of shit, but hey, it was the early 80’s.

I remember her fetching me every second Friday from primary school in Hillcrest, taking the long drive back to Durban North (as she never did more than 80km/hr, it was a looong drive) and making me my favourite lunch;  sliced apple (skin peeled and all), polony slices and cheese wedges.  I lived on that lunch for years.  I still remember her breakfasts that she used to make me;  she had this awful health bread that she would toast, and then she would make the best microwave eggs;  the yolks were perfect every time!  She would then smoosh the egg into the toast, and it somehow tasted like the most amazing 5 star meal in the world.  I remember when my cousins were getting ready to emigrate, and the 5  grandchildren all had one last sleepover at my gran’s – she woke us up with doughnuts the next morning!  This from the most health conscious woman out there!  But she would always surprise you that way, always keep you on your toes.

She had a good run;  she passed a couple months before her 80th birthday.  It’s just so amazing how one of the healthiest people that I have ever known, could have suffered the way that she did, by the hands of such a cruel disease.   It was something that we all knew was coming;  we just didn’t know when.  Her doctors’ had said that it was down to a matter of weeks;  perhaps 1, perhaps a dozen.  I just didn’t realise that it would be NOW.

I spoke to her about 3 or so weeks ago.  I called her at the hospice that she opted to go to for a ‘break’, and the woman that I spoke to on the phone wasn’t the grandmother that I last saw on Sunday the 19th of June 2009.  She sounded, well, old.  I know that everyone always thinks that their family members are the greatest, the healthiest etc, but believe me when I say that my grandmother was one of the most active people I have ever known.  I as her granddaughter, would have to phone her and get an appointment in her diary, that’s how social-able and active she was.  But of course, being my grandmother, she scolded me for phoning her, as it was too expensive for me to call her from South Africa to England.  I told her that she mustn’t worry about those things;  it’s really fine.  We chatted briefly;  we never did have long conversations as she wasn’t the most emotionally visible person.  I heard from my dad that when my grandfather passed away, she did not attend his funeral as she didn’t want people to see her crying;  she instead stayed at home to get it ready for the visitors after the funeral.  But I know that she knew that I loved her, and I know that she loved me.  When my dad came back from the UK a couple weeks ago, he told me that she told him that she could see a lot of him in me, which made her really happy.  That warmed my heart a lot.

But, the most important thing is that she is no longer in pain.  I am in pain, but my pain is nothing compared to the pain that she has felt these last few months.  She is at peace, sitting with my late grandfather, watching over all of us.  She’s probably having a good laugh with my late Nana, keeping a beady eye on their great-granddaughter, making sure that she doesn’t get into too much mischief, or give me too much grief!

God speed Gog’s;  you’ve earned your rest.

I love you.



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