Grandma, me and Pichu during our last trip to Broken Hill in June.
My Grandma is 92. Hi Grandma! (she reads my blog) Actually she will be 93 in October. She is so spritely, still lives in the house my Grandpa and her built, still drives her own car around, and has a vibrant social life. Honestly, she gets out more then me! And she is lucky, always snatching a prize here and there at Bingo or on the pokies. She's smart, and has a wicked sense of humour. It's always a great laugh gossiping with Grammy.
My Grandpa, Jack, passed away when I was 14, I have a patchy memory of it, I guess it's not memories I wanted to hold onto. The things I do remember, are vivid. I remember the open casket. I remember my Grandpa lying there 'asleep'. I remember being in the funeral car, and thinking that we were 'those' people. The people that you think of briefly as a funeral procession passes you by. In Broken Hill, cars still pull over for processions. It's sad they can't, or perhaps they don't want to, do that in cities anymore, well not in all circumstances anyway.
I remember the Wake. At 14 and not having experienced death like this before it was all foreign, wrong even. Why were we having tea and cake? We were just at the cemetery bawling our eyes out! Of course I soon learned why. People were remembering him, talking about his life, the stories, their friendships. I remember him, still remember him sitting in the kitchen when we walked in the back door, "How ya popping?", he'd ask. He loved all of his Grandchildren dearly and spent many hours tinkering away in his shed making toys and furniture for us.
Bessie and Jack. Hot mamma! And look at my Grandpa rocking that hat!
Twenty two years. Twenty two years my Grandma has been without her husband, best friend and father of their children. She is so incredibly strong. It must have been so hard for her, the matriarch of the family, trying to stay strong for everyone else. But she is amazing, and has been through so much in her life. A husband at war, building their own house (literally, they even made their own bricks), losing a baby at childbirth and never getting to see him (John), raising two children, sickness/hospitals, losing close friends, and so much more I don't even begin to scratch the surface.
It wasn't until many years later, when I was mature enough to care about other people perhaps? I started making connections about some little things. She spent every evening with my Grandpa, watching the footy or playing cards, then suddenly he was gone. She must feel very lonely sometimes, especially in the evenings. Everything seems worse at night.
It was about 8 years ago, we were all at my Mum and Dad's house for a family dinner. I'm not sure on the details, but I know we had been talking about Grandpa and loneliness. Suddenly I realised, why just think about it? Do something about it! I came out with the idea of spending a night each week at Grandma's house, just hanging out, drinking tea, watching TV, and catching her up with all our news of the week. I soon had my sister on board, and even now, when i'm not living there anymore, she still goes and takes my eldest niece along too. My Mum started going in on Wednesday nights too, and they also take her out for Dinner every Friday night.
So when I do visit Broken Hill, one of my first thoughts is being able to attend Grammy nights. She spoils us, even now as adults, buying us the treats she knows we love. Cheezels, Chomps, Turkish delights and other various biscuits and cakes. We take an iPad (or two) and she catches up with my blog and facebook. I love knowing she reads it, and even better, she loves it. She can laugh at the silly stuff that happens around this place, and she can see the photos.
Grammy kickin' back with iPad.
My sister and niece with a generous selection of deliciousness. I took a laptop in so I could publish a post while I was there. Things were pretty full on back at the house with just the 12 of us living there, so I didn't get much time for fluffing about on the computer.