So this morning (Sunday morning), not even twelve hours ago at the time of writing this, I was waiting in the queue to get in the plane to come back to Hull after flying to Holland on Friday for my great-aunt’s funeral. My dear great aunt was my grandmother’s sister; an amazing woman who died at the age of 83.
Death is a funny thing. We were all prepared for her death. She had gotten an irreversible illness and it went downhill very quickly from there. She was an amazing woman which definitely also shone through in the last few weeks. She was so completely ready to go back to the Lord (she was very religious) and she even welcomed this path that the Lord had decided for her to take. She was ready to leave this world behind and this in turn helped me be at peace with her leaving this world as well.
It was time for her to go. But that didn’t mean it wasn’t hard to say goodbye.
Up until the funeral itself, and even after, it only dawned on me at certain times that she had truly left this earth and only a body remained. She had, as she so much wished, gone back to greet the Lord. Seeing her body in the coffin, I don’t think the mind can truly fathom that even though there is a body, the soul has flown away like a dove being freed from a cage. And that that would be the last time you would ever see her. Ever again.
I have always said when I was a little girl that I don’t miss anyone. My family lived literally kilometres away from me in a different country, I only got to see my closest relatives for a few weeks a year before they were all off again so if I would have to cry and miss them every time I would spend half my life miserable. So I decided I wouldn’t miss anyone, because someday somewhere I was going to see them again.
Except if someone is dead, you can’t see them again, any day, anywhere.
I will always remember my great-aunt as the happy and loving woman she was, who was always excited to see me and called me ‘spookje’ (meaning little ghost in Dutch). She had a nickname for all of us, I think my sister’s was ‘dropje’ (little liquorice). I will always treasure our happy memories together, most of all the riding the bicycle through nature, which was probably one of her favourite things to do. Even up until the last few months of her life.
And then it suddenly shifted. Things went downhill and my mum thankfully went to Holland to visit her for the last time to say goodbye. Fast forward two weeks and we are here, the day after the funeral and I’m lying in my bed trying to get all my emotions out. I was going to say for the last time, but grief is a very mysterious thing and just as I still miss my grandmother every day, this will certainly also not be the last time I cry over my great-aunt.
Everything that has happened over the past month has reminded me incredibly much of my grandmother who passed away more than 9 years ago now. The process was basically the same except the illness was slightly different and the decay was slower. I don’t think again that it truly dawned upon me that my grandmother was gone until after she was buried. Seeing her in the coffin all those years ago, and now seeing my great-aunt yesterday… the realisation that they are dead is still unfathomable at times. I can only gain comfort in the fact that they will now be together again.
I’m sure my grandmother will welcome her sister with open arms. ‘Welcome home sister, welcome home to The Lord’.