A lot has happened recently, both good and bad. On Saturday I heard that my gran has died, aged 92, in England. We were close, and it's sad - and, because I'm sad, I'm doing what all writers do when they feel things; I'm turning to words.
The death of a family member's never going to be fun, but it doesn't have to be tragic. Gran was old, even by today's increasingly impressive standards. She had physical difficulties at the end, but we were saved the extra pain of seeing her mind go. She was a good matriarch, was Gran. She was a Northern gal, and Northern women have limited patience for fools and time wasters. Gran always had a lot of love, though, and more than any one else I know, she was generous. With her time, her money, and her wisdom, she never hoarded or held back or even showed favourtism. Oh, she could be scathing - scathing - of people who chose to be stupid, but she was part of the generation who went through war and came back out with a hardness in their souls that was based on respect, not selfishness, and hard work, not apathy.
She was, pure and simple, a good woman, and a good gran, and I will miss her very much.
The funeral is next week, and I'll be flying to England for one last hurrah and goodbye.
This post is not especially fun, I'm afraid, but then death is not especially fun. Why have so many poets tried to find a way to make death make sense? Why are there libraries - scores of them - filled with people's attempts to work out what it means? Because it's too hard, I think, and death is too final, for it to make sense. It's sudden and confusing and wrong - but, there you go.
I loved my gran (I still do, of course) but with her age, and her health, we knew this was coming. It's a good reminder that life is well worth living and there's so much to do, for goodness' sake.
I've been taking a few more minutes these last few days to think, to rest, and to dream. There's a lot to do, and not a lot of time in the world, but I'm learning - more and more - just how much you can get done if you share your life with others. I've been reading more again - including In Bloom, by someone I was surprised to find out is actually distant family. The world is a funny place, isn't it? Gran would have liked that - people coming together and finding things to talk about.
So, this one's for you, Gran. Requiescat in pace.