“Dear Granny,” I wrote on her special occasion, “It is lovely to celebrate this birthday with you. Before my friends met you, they expected to see a frail lady, but they were surprised to find that you were full of life. Love always, Gavin”.
As I reflect on the whole experience of my Granny’s life and death since my last video (Gratitude in my Granny), I am grateful for a new appreciation of our relationship. I draw strength from our faith which we shared. I often saw her, for example, praying the rosary in her room. She said her prayers silently while going from bead to bead with her fingers. I felt comforted during these times, especially when I felt a little raw and vulnerable. We were in good, loving company and I cherish this memory today.
I wrote to her on a Mother’s Day card: “I am grateful for your presence in our family. I never thought those years ago that you would move back to Dublin from the country, but you did and we are blessed because of it. God bless your health! God bless your laughter! God bless your mood! And may you feel the warmth of the sun’s light this year. See you around for many more cups of tea.”
I even appreciate the challenging interactions with Granny. I learned a lot from when she used to call on me like the way a farmer would call on cattle. I felt knocked when I heard her shout, “Hey, hey, hey.” But perhaps it wasn’t really an unpleasant event, more the product of my mind reacting in negative ways. I’m doing a mindfulness-based stress reduction course at the moment and this is what the science appears to suggest. After all, Granny was well into her nineties and her brain was naturally deteriorating.
I wrote to her on another birthday card: “How wonderful it is that you are with us on your glorious golden age! I hope that this year is filled with blessings. I love you and I wish you well from the bottom of my heart.”
Granny and I also believed that our vocation doesn’t stop when we die. In many ways, my family are now even more blessed because we have the support of Granny in heaven. She accompanies us in our day to day journey on earth and is nudging us onward to greater life and meaning. She is also living her best life right now, like her glory days as a red-haired country girl.
How do you remember a loved one who has died? Can you imagine his or her gentle gaze?