Forty Eight Hours Short

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As we near Mother’s Day, I often think of my beautiful Grandmother who I loved so dearly. This year I thought I’d share a piece I wrote that was previously published in The Australia Times

The last photo of my Grandma and I

The last photo of my Grandma and I

Why didn’t you hold on for just two more days? Forty eight hours. A snippet of time in your almost ninety two years.

I was coming to see you.

To feast on the warmth and comfort of your withered, wizened face, to hear your tinkling laughter as you cracked slightly inappropriate jokes about the old geezer down the hall climbing into bed with you. My hands aching for the touch of your familiar bony clasp held so often and lovingly, my body desperately in need of your rose scented hug.

No longer a need for you to scoot over in your bed for me to sit close, your body so tiny and now minus half a leg you so cheekily call Matilda.

Fond childhood memories. So many of them revolve around you: school holidays staying at your house so far from ours, excitement and country freedom, walking to the main street for a bag of mixed lollies and shopping for you: Ford pills and salmon paste. The magnificent blue bedroom with frills and flounces. I still have dreams of being in this room with my sisters. You and I sleeping through the tornado that tore through town. Allowing me to carefully polish the delicate china in your beautiful cabinet that now sits proudly in my hallway. You sitting through all eighty-two competitors at my dance competition to see me announced as the winner, and your subsequent retelling of that day for many years after.

We shared a mutual love of books and shuffled many between us over the years. As well as secret chocolates.

Even though you had five offspring of your own and a horde of grandchildren and great grandies, you continued to be sharp as a button and remembered their names and what they were up to. You made each one of us feel like the favourite. A proud family matriarch.

You were my happy place, so alike we were.

You had always been there encouraging and cheering my way through each life milestone. Never judging, just providing me with love and open-mindedness.

I knew you were not much longer to be ours. I mentioned this urgency to my partner whom I wanted you to meet, and love. My wish was for you to know that now I am happy and well-loved as you wanted.

Our visit was planned for Easter Saturday.

I bought your favourite chocolates.

The call came on Holy Thursday.

You couldn’t wait for me.

How distraught I was not to see your cheeky grin again, to hold you in my arms as you once held me. I wanted to tell you I loved you before you left me for always.

I was so angry at you as I stomped down my hallway.

Why couldn’t you wait?

Didn’t you know I was coming one last time?

Something bumped into me. My accusing glare melted away when I realised the offending item. Your china cabinet.

You knew.

Even now you were reassuring me, comforting me like only my dearest Grandmother could.


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