I woke up to the news this morning that Gran had passed away during the night in South Africa. She was 90 years old and had been failing these last few years. As I went about my morning, I could not turn off the tears as I found my thoughts filled with her. I have so many good memories of the things she did. When I was a child, she once came to visit and surprised us with a puppy. She had taken a train from her home to ours and had smuggled the puppy in her purse so that the train conductor didn't see it. Us grandchildren were so surprised and delighted. I am not sure what my parents thought about our wonderful surprise though, but I imagine it would have been similar to mine if my mother or mother -in-law surprised my children with a puppy.
Gran had false teeth, and this was completely fascinating to me as a child. I would go and wish her good morning when she slept over and always take a good look at the teeth floating in the cup on the table by her bed. I used to love watching her talk without them in her mouth! Sometimes she would begin her day and then exclaim "Oh! I forgot my teeth!" Then she would go and put them in. I always found that very funny.
Gran always had tea and biscuits (cookies) at tea-time. She would give us milk or juice as she knew that we didn't drink tea.
My father loved his mother so much and she loved him. I admire her strength and that she took in her sisters child as a toddler and raised him as her own. She was grief stricken at my fathers funeral. I find comfort that they are reunited.
I regret that my children never had the opportunity to meet Gran. I am grateful for my life and family here in the United States, but have always keenly felt the missing parts of my family left in South Africa. My mom told me that they found a letter I had written to Gran for her 90th birthday last year tucked away in her Bible. It means a lot to me that she kept it. I have missed her and will miss her all the more, now that she is no longer among us. So my tears today are both happy and sad. I am happy she is no longer bound to a frail body. I am sad because there is nothing that can replace her, I love her and I will miss her.