Sunday, March 25, 2018

Endings and other things

We've been down in Norfolk, attending my aunt's funeral and sorting out her possessions. This is always a sad thing to do - and we've done it now as often as we care to. Mr Life's parents died when he was 34 and 43 - and he's an only child - and then my parents died 11 and 6 years ago, my other unmarried aunt having died 7 years ago. So I hope that's us done for a bit. On the other hand, maybe it's time to sift through our own stuff... .

This aunt was 93 and in full possession of her faculties, whereas my other aunt, her sister, had dementia. It's such a random illness, one which everyone dreads. Because this aunt was so mentally sharp and full of fun, it's hard to quite take in that she's gone. However, she was very religious and was quite happy to accept that her life had come to an end, so it's not such a sad thing. Her funeral was very suitable and lovely and attended by about 100 people, which isn't bad for a childless 93-year-old.

My brother and his wife stayed on to help with the clearing out of her things, which was great. These events are always better done together. My aunt lived simply - she didn't have a great many possessions apart from books.

I've written before about how she and some friends retired to this lovely house in a Norfolk village. One of the friends was married to a much younger husband - the key to the working of this splendid arrangement. The husband divided the house up informally into three flats upstairs and then the downstairs was used for visitors and communal purposes - often church or village meetings. They arranged that the house should end up belonging to the much-younger husband and he is now the only one left - and not so young now, at 76, though he looks much younger.

My aunt was a great gardener. The garden is enormous - several acres - and though she still gardened most days till her accident, the size of it was becoming a bit much for her, so that it's much weedier than it used to be - though still beautiful. They do have a gardener who comes in, I think, a couple of mornings a week and potters around, but it really needs someone full time. I walked round it and couldn't help being a bit sad at seeing the spring flowers that my aunt will never now see, the seats she used to rest on in between gardening sessions, and her spade leaning up against a wall.

The house is now up for sale. Unfortunately we can't afford it! - even if we wanted to take on such a huge property (which we don't) far away from home. We've had so many wonderful holidays there; we've been so lucky.

Then we went to London for a few days to see these people. We even babysat Littlest Granddaughter while her parents went to see "Hamilton" the musical.

It went remarkably well. Littlest didn't seem at all bothered by her parents' absence.

Today we've seen the Edinburgh family, whom we'd been missing. Grandson's teacher has told his class that every word in English has at least one of the vowels "a,e,i,o,u" in it. Grandson doesn't agree. "What about "my"?" he pointed out. Fortunately he didn't point this out to the teacher, who was no doubt aware that "y" can act as a vowel but thought she'd just state the general rule. Still, it's good that they're learning about such things. Long live the basics. But be careful what you say to small children.

Biggest Granddaughter, alas, has been diagnosed with long sight and is going to have to have glasses. She likes accessories and is quite pleased, which is good. Sigh.


  1. Ninety-three is a good age, but it does seem a sad shame that when your dear aunt was so alert and part of life that this terrible freak accident which never should have happened really caused her death. My sincere sympathy. I also have buried all the people in the generation ahead of me, and my husband who died of Alzheimer's in 2007. We're in the front lines now. But meanwhile, so blessed to have wonderful grandchildren!

  2. Children's glasses are so much nicer than they used to be.
    It was pointed out to me that my new glasses look exactly like the old NHS ones! Pity they weren't free.

  3. It sounds like you've had a mixed week, filled with sadness and much happiness with the grandbabies. Life is funny like that - not funny haha, of course. Youngest granddaughter is adorable - and growing too quickly. And I'm excited for oldest granddaughter's accessorizing potential -- I can't wait to see her in her new glasses!

  4. It's strange when you suddenly realise there's no-one 'in front' so to speak. Husband and I have lost both parents and all our siblings. Though I have a couple of much older cousins it won't fall to me to sort out their things.
    93 is a very good age and your aunt sounds to have had a happy life living with friends.
    Glasses are so much less of a stigma these days and more children seem to wear them. I remember being the only one in my class when I started aged 9.
    I'm sure L will take them in her stride - and look very stylish.

  5. I've lost two siblings, but my parents are still here, at 89 and nearly 86. They are generally so vital that it's difficult to imagine them gone. :( Your aunt sounds like she lived a full life, and was ready to let go, although none of us is ever ready to lose a loved one. Those cheeks on youngest gdaughter! How can you resist kissing them all the time. :) What is long sight? We don't use that term here.

  6. Goodness, don't you? Hyperopia. She can see well at a distance but not so well close up.