Oscar and Abby's great-grandma (on R's side) passed away today. She was 92, had lived a long life, she had a whole bunch of great-grandchildren. She also maintained her independence living in her own house until this Saturday. We'll all miss her. It was a mercifully swift death, (merciful for her and the staff of Wythenshaw hospital, as she could be quite fearsome and cantankerous when she wanted to be!) When I first heard the news the first thing that went through my head was disbelief, she was such a tough character, she had bounced back from a number of bad episodes, although we all knew this one was very serious, I couldn't help thinking she'd come back one more time.
It's a shame Oscar won't remember her. I think Abby will. Most Wednesday's R would take Abby (and now Oscar) to visit great-grandma (with her mum) and do her shopping. Abby would have a whale of a time revelling in all the attention and showing off her latest ball room dancing moves. (I had a sneaking suspicion that Abby was great-grandma's favourite, but don't quote me on that.) I guess this is one of the things about grief; the loss of the shared events that define who we are, in this case the weekly meeting of four generations of women from R's family.
One of the things now is how to explain death to a 3 year old? Somehow I don't think "resting in peace" or "happy in heaven" will cut it with Abby. It's funny at times like these I want to believe in things like heaven and an afterlife, like many Mancunians I have some of that Irish Catholic in me and I *do* find the church comforting and spiritual, but as to an afterlife; the truth is I just don't know, I'm still figuring it out, and it could all be it's just a construct us human beings have created to try and bring some comfort and moral certainty into what would otherwise be an infinitely perplexing and indifferent universe. All I can do is try to keep my answers as simple as possible, avoid euphemisms, and maybe leave religion for another day.
On the way to pick up R from the hospital yesterday, R's dad asked me "Do you know the way to the hospital?" I could only laugh in reply. After driving/catching a bus there every 3 months for the last 15 years (including one time when I had a cripplingly painful stomach blockage) I think I could probably find my way backwards. On a horse. I've got a check up at the newly reconstructed Wythenshaw CF outpatients on Wednesday, hope everything is well in chest land.