Little did I know that in 2005, when I went to see my grandmother for the last time, it would be the last time I saw her too. I remember how she was part of the pair who took me aside. They saw a storm brewing, put a hand on my shoulder and said 'Don't let them get to you.'
I may not always have seen eye to eye with her. I may never understand the why and wherefore of a lot of the things she did, but it's not judge her. We're family, so I will always question, not judge. That's love. Like everybody else, she had her quirks. We have joked about them for ever, with each other and with her, but those quirks made her the woman we all loved.
Her battle with cancer was a long and peculiar one. This long battle was a blessing and a curse. A blessing because you have more time to get used to the idea that the end is coming. A curse, because a loved one gets to suffer for a long while. It makes you realise that no matter how long beforehand you know that the end is coming it always hurt. I'm starting to think that a long process only makes it hurt much longer.
Two weeks ago, we talked on the phone and it hurt. It hurt to know you're saying goodbye and not be able to say the words.It hurt when you realise that you don't want your last words to be a lie, but you know that the truth isn't an option. It hurt to hear this joyful and forceful woman sound totally and utterly broken.
Last night, her flame went out. Not like a candle, but like a lamp slowly running out of oil. That's how my sweet auntie Ivy went. After a long battle with the beast called cancer, she lost.
In the presence of death, we must continue to sing the song of life.
We must be able to accept death and go from it's presence better able to bear our burdens and to lighten the load of others.
Out of our sorrows should come understanding.
Through our sorrows, we join with all of those before who have had to suffer and all of those who will yet have to do so.
Let us not be gripped by the fear of death. If another day be added to our lives, let us joyfully receive it, but let us not anxiously depend on our tomorrows.
Though we grieve the deaths of our loved ones, we accept them and hold on to our memories as precious gifts. Let us make the best of our loved ones while they are with us, and let us not bury our love with death.