closer each time

My grandmother died when she was 82 from cancer of the liver.

“We knew she was ill, licking her lips as she ate a peach.”

“What are you doing here?” “I just came to see you, granny.”

The night before she died, she turned to face the wall; I think she knew.

It was my first adult death.

As kids, we stayed with her in Plymouth every summer. Playing in the park at the bottom of the road, or in the small woods beyond, building dams in its tiny stream; spending days on the the beach, despite the cold and the wind; taking mystery tours by coach over Dartmoor, always ending up at places we knew.

One day my mother drove us all to Clovelly. My uncle, on crutches (leg broken in a motorbike accident), raced us down the steps. Climbing back up, I stood in tears outside the gift shop, wanting a little brass figure in the window. Her first grandchild, she was always indulgent.

summer breeze a little brass donkey clutched in my hand

Talking to my uncle in the pub after the funeral, I found myself saying “your mother”. Trying to distance myself …