My Grandmother: November 27, 1919 – February 14, 1993

February 14th, 2011 by Jules Leave a reply »

In the early hours of February 14, 1993, my grandma peacefully passed away in her sleep. The events surrounding her death still deeply bother me to this day. I miss her terribly. As of this year, she has been gone for more years than I had her in my life. You’d think this day would get easier for me after all these years, but it just gets more difficult.

I used to recall every thing about her with the greatest of ease. Now, I have trouble recalling her voice or the way she smells. And when I do recall her voice, it isn’t the happy memories but the memories of her gasping for breath when she walked and saying, “Oh bother.”

Today, I managed to successfully bury myself in a mountain of work and stave off the tears… until two minutes ago when I watched the following video of Makeshift Innocence‘s latest single:

My grandma was the one who taught me how to love and be a giving person. She is largely responsible for my moral compass. My grandma is the one who taught me that I was loved. She showed me that I mattered, regardless of how others treated me. She taught me how to be a proper lady and live with dignity. (Yes, I can be a lady). My grandma was the matriarch of the family and when she passed on, what was left of the family completely splintered apart.

I really miss having toast with marmalade with her in the morning, afternoon tea with her, warmed apple juice with her in the evening, crafting with her for hours and crawling into her adjustable bed and listening to stories. I miss wearing her gawdy jewelry. I miss going to  the washroom in the middle of the night and seeing her dentures soaking in a cup of water and Polident, by the sink.

I miss being unconditionally loved by a mum.

I just miss her.

My grandma was the epitome of a proper lady. However, she was not without a sense of humour and the ability to “let her hair down” when in private company. The following poem was my grandma’s favourite poem and read at her Celebration of Life. The poem characterises part of my grandma quite well.

Warning – When I Am an Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple
By Jenny Joseph

When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple
with a red hat that doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
and satin candles, and say we’ve no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I am tired
and gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
and run my stick along the public railings
and make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
and pick the flowers in other people’s gardens
and learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
and eat three pounds of sausages at a go
or only bread and pickles for a week
and hoard pens and pencils and beer nuts and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
and pay our rent and not swear in the street
and set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.



  1. Dear Jules, a really moving and understandably emotional piece and one that gives another valuable insight into your psyche. After reading this and its companion post from last year I’d like to give you my take on it; however, I shall do so privately. Publicly, I think it’s more than enough to say I felt the very real love you had – and still have – for this remarkable lady and hope that my poor words go some way to reassuring and maybe comforting you.

    Thanks again for the post x x x