Instead, my longest break from blogging in six years (I think anyway) was caused by the need to make an emergency dash to Perth to say goodbye to my grandfather who died on Wednesday morning at the age of 102.
A couple of years ago, on the occasion of his 100th birthday, I wrote a post that talked a little about his life, and this photo was taken at the 100th birthday celebration. It is one of the few that I have with him as an adult.
|Photo by Chad Taylor Photography. If you are in Perth and need a photographer check him out (my cousin)|
It's been an interesting week really.
We knew that it was getting close to time, so we originally were thinking about heading over to Perth on the Friday night, but we held off booking, and then we talking about going on Wednesday morning, but then in the end we flew out in a massive rush on Tuesday night. At 4.50pm on that night we decided we were going, and at 7.30pm we were at the airport and in the intervening time, I had trained my boss how to do something that had to happen the next day, spent an hour getting home, packed and driven to the airport which is about 40 minutes away. Fastest pack ever....and I didn't forget anything other than hair ties! It was a good job that we did go on Tuesday night as we got to spend a couple of hours with my grandparents. We were just about to go back to the nursing home on the Wednesday morning when we got the call to say he had passed.
In some ways it was kind of an odd feeling that came over me at his passing. My mum moved us away from our family when I was 10 years old and so we only got to see my father and my grandparents for short times during holidays. Really, at the end of every visit for the last twenty years, I have walked out thinking that this will be the last time, trying to hold it together so that they couldn't see how upsetting it was each time, and I know that my grandfather, in particular, was doing the same. To know that this time was really the last time was hard, but also a relief as he had been in pain for a long time. His mind was quite active up until the last few months, but his movement was extremely limited and painful.
What also made this time quite emotional was that my cousin's eldest son was involved in a terrible accident the day after my grandfather died so there was lots of concern relating to that. He will be alright eventually, physically at least, but his best mate died and so there will definitely be a long road to recovery.
Overall, there was only a hint of family drama but it was pretty low key which was fantastic. In fact, one good thing that came out was that all of my cousins were in the same place at the same time, something that my grandfather would have loved. I don't think that has happened before, but I could be wrong. The oldest cousin has been estranged from the family for a long time and with us living interstate we weren't always at family events and my two youngest cousins weren't born before we left. I don't necessarily think that this will fix the estrangement but it was great to see him take his place at the grave and to have everyone together however briefly.
What I can't begin to imagine is how my grandmother is feeling. They have been married for 69 years and I just don't know how I would face the idea of going back home to know that your husband is not going to be there. There is a chance that maybe she will decide to go to a care facility. She was also in the same hospice as my grandfather as she currently has a broken leg so they were able to share a room right up until a room.
I was a little bit cheeky while we were away. My grandmother and a couple of my cousins are real readers, and so my grandmother often has a pile of library books that my cousin gets for her. I walked into the hospice room and noticed the books there immediately - especially an old, out-of-print novel by Susan Carroll which is one of the few books by her that I haven't read! While we were sitting up with my grandmother on the first couple of nights I started it, and ended up finishing it while we were away. Other than that, I really didn't do a lot of reading while I was away - I just wasn't in the right space mentally.
I have started to make up for it since I have been back, but my library queues and Netgalley queue were all in a bit of a mess! Oh well!
All the Flowers in Shanghai by Duncan Jepson - I was supposed to post a review of this last week but completely forgot about it in the rush to get to Perth. My review will now be posted in the next week.
Trouble at the Wedding by Laura Lee Guhrke
The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald - my next book club choice.