Fact Vs Fiction

Saying Goodbye

Last Friday I attended the funeral of my son’s great grandma. When we split up with a partner it does not always follow that we say good bye to their family. I was with my ex 18 years on and off, in that time in become closer to his family and remain so especially with his mum. When I looked back after my sons great grandma passed I realised that she had been part of my life for longer than three of my own grandparents.

Not long before she passed I was invited along on a family meal and sat with her and her older brother. They were both in their nineties and the conversations we had were fascinating. Sadly he also passed at the end of last year, although it appeared sudden to everyone at the time it was revealed he had been hiding a lot of illness and his death may have been the straw that broke the camels back for his sister.

The thing I took from the conversations I had with both these people is that the lived life to the full. They travelled, they loved family but never let that restrict them. They saw the world change and rather than sit back and say they were too old to learn anything, my son’s great grandma in particular, they embraced they changes around them,

I remember when I lost my own grandma eight years ago last month, one of things I took comfort in was the stories I heard from her and that I got to share in the life experiences she’d had.

The officially closed lines are living relatives, my great aunt and uncle but what is really interesting is that on this someone has written in Wootton which would eventually be her married name but at this point she was only 15 and had not begun her nursing training.

Friday has be itching to go back and do some more work on my family tree, I recently got my hands on a lot of old family photos, some of which I would love to scan and add to the tree so that is relatives on other branches find it they can see them.

There are many characters in a story but so many more behind the scenes, each one of which made a choice that lead them to where your story begins. Who they marry, where they choose to live and then of course the lives each one led. Imagine yourself or your characters like a dish on a plate, you are the final meal but to get there every single person in your heritage is an additional ingredient. Some may be bland, some spicy, some you can’t quite put your finger on, now imagine what your life will add to the recipe.

In this picture are my mum and grandma, my uncle, my great aunts and uncles, there is someone who was a prisoner of war, there is a member of the Coldstream Guards, and a pop star. This is just one photo of many, a sample of the ingredients in the recipe that created me.

So you may be asking how this relates to the title, in a way it doesn’t, but, what I would say to anyone who has older relatives is before you have to say goodbye take the chance to get to know them. Even if they ramble and don’t always get everything right every time, listen to them. When we are gone our kids can look at our social media and get a snap shot of the person we want the world to see but make sure you tell them the full stories.

Make you life one that when you go they will say was well lived. Make sure when the time comes to say goodbye you can also say thank you for stories and memories shared,

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