Sunday, 1 July 2012
Do you ever think about the last time you saw someone, and if you'd realised it would be your last time, what would you have done differently? Would you have said more? Or not changed a thing?
Does it make you cry? Laugh?
Are you happy or sad about the memory?
Last year my Grandma died, and although this was very sad, she was 89 years old (nearly 90), and it was what she wanted in the end. And we all know we've got to go in the end. I knew one day I would lose her.
She didn't want anyone seeing her as she got sick. In fact, in the past few years, she worried about seeing people and what they thought, with her ageing. I learnt that I had to just turn up to visit her (considering she lived on the Isle of Wight it took a bit of planning - but the boys enjoyed the short break!) because she would fret if she knew you were coming, if it was planned. Whereas if you just showed up, she was absolutely fine.
Luckily, the year before she died, I'd done just that. My husband and the boys stayed for a bit, then they went and watched the boats (she lived in Cowes) while I stayed with my Grandma for another hour. We talked about all sorts, about my dad (her son) and just things. But I remember her face, her voice, her mannerisms, and I'm sort of glad I never saw her sick, because I have a healthy memory of her. I remember her how she was. However, I do think about that being the last time I saw her alive, and if I'd realised then, would I have stayed longer? Should I have stayed longer? At the time I hadn't wanted to outstay my welcome. I didn't want to tire her out.
Now, I wished I'd just spent a tiny bit longer with her.
This applies to friends, lovers, anyone... sometimes you just don't realise that that last time you saw them, would be the actual last time for whatever reason. And depending on those reasons, do you think you would have done things differently?
You might be thinking what has this got to do with with writing. But the sentimental fool that I am often ponders over this feeling, especially with my Grandma as it sticks in my brain poignantly, and it is something I would like to explore in a story. In fact, everything we do, feel, experience, ends up in our writing whether we realise it or not.
To live and experience enables us to write, right?
So is there someone in your life, good or bad memories, that if you'd realised it would be the last time you saw them, you would have done or said things differently?
Posted by Teresa F Morgan at 9:00 am
Granola-Dust-Obsessed Mum to 2 boys and a budgie, romance novelist, RNA & Society of Authors member. Apologies for my randomness, I'm The Wittering Woman
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My grandmother died when I was 19. I last saw her the previous year and that was almost by accident. A friend was travelling my gran's home town to see another friend at uni and asked if I wanted to go too. I was able to spend time with her, just the two of us which had never happened before (always had mum and/or sister around). It was so special... but like you, if I'd known it was the last time, I'd have spent longer - or made an effort to visit again, because she never got to meet Hubby.ReplyDelete
I think we have to not beat ourselves up about it too much, and be glad we did get a good memory to take with us.Delete
Oh, God. This was hard.ReplyDelete
I remember the last words I spoke to my father. "See you in the morning." He and I rarely said "I love you." He was uncomfortable with demonstrative things, and we both knew it anyway. But when my brother woke me up in the wee hours of the morning to tell me he'd gone (cancer)... well, I really wish I had anyway. But saying it then - it was admitting that he only had days left, and stupid as it seems, I couldn't admit that to myself.
With my mom, it was different. Even though at the end, she rarely knew who I was, I always told her "I love you" when I said goodnight, and, superstitiously, never said "See you in the morning" or any other such phrase. And so when the doctors called and said she'd had a massive stroke, at least I had the comfort of knowing I'd told her that the night before.
But it's strange, and a bit discomfiting now, because whenever anyone leaves, whether it's my brother to go to town, or my son going back to California, I always remind myself that it may be the last time I see them. And, without getting too gushy (they are guys, after all), I let them know I want them to be safe, and I want them home again.
(And this thing keeps saying I'm anonymous via LJ, but it's me - ostarella :p)
No, it came up as you! And in my emails when I got my message.Delete
I don't think it's strange at all ;-)