Growing old sucks. Middle age sucks. This post will be more personal than usual, because my 91-year old grandmother died yesterday. I take comfort in the fact that she is in a better place now, especially as she started feeling poorly and not remembering who we were a couple of years ago, but I have to admit that I feel pretty raw. Due to unusual familial circumstances (don't ask!) I am taking a more active part in the whole process than a granddaughter usually does.
So here I am, back to France in a hurry and struggling to sleep. As I was laying awake in the early hours of the morning, a cicada started to sing. I liked the fact that this little creature was unwillingly keeping me company. I woke up early and bought some bread. On my way back home an elderly man who looked a bit lunatic because he had big hair and no shirt on told me -actually, shouted at me: "Jesus loves you!" and I have to admit that he managed to make me laugh.
I know nothing about grief. Not much will happen today because it's Sunday and everything is closed. While rummaging through old family photos, I saw something. It was a small, white piece of paper, without any date. I instantly recognised my grandmother's handwriting: she was a head teacher and her handwriting exudes authority, with its peaked s and t. I unfolded it eagerly, hoping it would bring back some childhood memories. The paper was torn. It was basically a part of a -quite nasty- hate mail to my mother. It was probably never sent. My grandmother was my Dad's mum, and my parents eventually divorced -which triggered a massive family feud. The few words I read amply sufficed to remind me of how high emotions were running at the time. A bit sick, I didn't read the whole thing and threw it away. Time to forget and move on.
The whole experience felt a bit weird, because the very fact that I had completely idolised my grandmother hit home. For a brief moment, it felt like her hate filled the room. Very odd indeed.
But then again, it is all over now. Who knows? The very fact that as far as I know she didn't send the letter is a positive thing, isn't it? She is in peace now and strangely I feel less emotional...
So let's end up reminding everybody to throw away your hate mail. Or burn it. That's not how you want to be remembered.