It’s rare I publish an evening post, especially on a Monday but there’s something about this particular Monday.

It’s been such a beautiful day – intermittent sun and snow, mother nature laying a blanket of sparkle and shine across the fields and hills that are the view from my office window.

Today felt a good day from the moment I woke, then my Mum reminded me it was two years ago today that my lovely Grandma Edna passed away.  And that’s when I felt it – that bitter sweet sensation, part elation, part indescribable grief – that follows when you arrive on the scene to realise your beloved Grandma’s spirit has flown just moments before – warm but lifeless, discoloured and exhausted looking from days of struggling to breath, yet calm, at peace, beautiful in her stillness.

I remember looking up to the ceiling as we arrived on the hospital ward only minutes too late – as if Angels and birds were flying around in circles above – it was the strangest sensation and brought with it a deep sense of serenity.  I felt that serenity again today.   Perhaps Grandma’s spirit had come to visit.

Grandma

C.Early 1940s – with thanks to Mary Cyrus for photo-retouching 

 Grandma was the kindest, sweetest person I knew. A tiny lady of slight frame who used to somehow tip toe so quietly around the house and up the stairs I remember thinking it was almost as though she was hovering just above the carpet.  I remember thinking when I was very very little that she had magic feet!

I loved how she used to let me play dress up at her house. There was this one pair of old shoes I adored of hers, cream sling-backs – they made just the right heel to floor click sound that made me feel all ever so grown up as my six year old self, stomping around on her tiled kitchen floor and the patio outside making as loud a noise as I could.

I thought of my Grandma often when writing my book.  I thought of how proud she’d be and how she’d love showing her friends.  But it wasn’t until I came to research the wartime era for my 1940s chapter that I realised how much she’d been through, living through that period and getting married during the war. I actually found it a very emotional experience. More than anything, it made me realise just how incredibly lucky we are today – most of us anyway – to have the choices that we have to plan our weddings.  For many during the wartime, weddings were very hastily planned events, often organised at very short notice – 48 hours even, to take place when an officer was on leave – only for the newly wed bride to spend the next several months worrying if she’d actually ever see her husband again. Of course, many didn’t.  And my Grandparents were lucky enough to enjoy a 70 year
marriage in the end.

It didn’t feel right to not mark Grandma’s passing somehow today and so I wanted to write a few words in her memory this evening.

Grandmawedding

My Grandma Edna and Grandpa Norman on their wedding day, 21st November 1942
Image taken from Style Me Vintage: Weddings

As I drove to collect my eldest from School earlier today, I found myself talking out loud to Grandma. I was telling her that I was sorry she didn’t get to see me book and enjoy it, but that I was so grateful to her for inspiring me in my book writing adventures. I felt tears welling – just a few, but beat them back with a smile as I recalled how Grandma used to walk us in to town, a pretty chiffon headscarf (she had many) tied neatly beneath her chin to keep her perm in place, her pink lipstick applied with absolute perfection and her little tartan shopping trolley in tow to keep the groceries safe on the way back.

Grandma was an avid fan of Mills & Boon books and I remember her taking my Sister and I to the library when we were young to take out up to 4 or 5 Mills & Boon at a time, which she’d devour within a couple of days.  She read so many Mills & Boon books that she lost track of which ones she read – she’d mark them with little dot in blue biro at the back of the book to reminder herself if she’d read the book or not. I remember falling about in fits of laughter when she told me this - she laughed too, so did my Sister. We laughed a lot about Grandma and her ferocious appetite for silly, soppy stories of romance and saucy goings on.

Millsandboon

Mills & Boon – Image Source

It’s funny such stories which mean next to nothing at the time they are happening, end up becoming such treasured memories in later life.

Grandma, I hope if you did visit today, you’ll have gathered from the open copy I left on my desk, that I have dedicated my book to you.  You were and always will be the most beautiful bride.

I love you Grandma,

Annabel xx

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4 thoughts on For Grandma…

  1. Brought a tear to my eye reading this, such a lovely post. RIP your Grandma Edna. I loved reading about the Mills and Boon! I remember those when I was little too.

  2. What an inspiring post! I had a great grandmother Edna, too! They are so very special and endearing to our hearts to remember. I loved that you brought up wartime brides and the struggles they faced. I think it would do some good for some of this modern-day “Bridezillas” to see what real brides of that time went through. When you actually married for love and no other reason, as some had only that day to hold on to for months or years until their husband came home. And for some, that day never came, and their wedding day was the last memory they had of their husband. How romantic and yet sad is that, all in one? It brings a tear to my eye just thinking about that kind of love and devotion. Congratulations to Grandma Edna for 70 years of bliss!

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