11 November 2016

the last postcard

bath visit london lifestyle blog

I've always sent postcards when I go away, usually for one reason: my Granny has always loved receiving them. They're displayed in a special place in her kitchen (below the radio, above the microwave) until they've been there too long, and then they're stored in the outside loo, where there are hundreds of postcards from family holidays dating back decades. Once, me and my brother both forgot to send a post card and she was so upset, it was so horrendous, I've not made the same mistake again. In the last year or so I've moved away from sending handwritten postcards. I'm still not entirely comfortable about it - surely handwriting them is half the point? But my handwriting is atrocious, and my Granny's eyesight is getting worse, so I moved to an app where I can take my own photos, add a location and type instead. 

As I was writing my latest batch from my trip to Iceland, I realised you could see all of the past postcards which had been sent. The first one I ever sent was from my trip to Bath, and it was sent on the April 11th - addressed to "Granny and Grandad" and signed off with "I hope Grandad feels better soon". The next postcard after that was sent in May, addressed only to my Granny, because on April 17th my Grandad died. 

I'd never really known grief before, no one I knew had ever died before. To get to 25 and to still have all four of my grandparents felt lucky, and I was grateful. And then it all disappeared in the space of a weekend. I hadn't realised just how much of an impact a death has on a family. I know it sounds so naive, but I didn't really think that six/seven months on we'd still be sat in my Granny's living room looking at his empty chair and crying about it.

The funny thing was that my Grandad was a quiet man, and we rarely spoke. He couldn't hear me on the phone, so when I called my grandparents he would quickly pass me off to my Granny so we could chat. But I knew he loved me and my brother - there were many stories about how we both could get away with anything and my Grandad would laugh it off, but had my Dad and my Aunt done the same things, he would have shouted at them. Even though I'm in my twenties now and live in London, whenever I visited and was about to leave, he would tell me to "mind how you cross the road". When I started secondary school, at a school a train ride away, he used to catch the train and follow me to school to make sure I got there safely, even though I sat with my friends on the train. His funeral was packed, rare for a 92 year old, but it showed how many people loved him.

I didn't realise that seeing that postcard would jolt me as much as it did, or how many feelings it would throw up. But it did make me glad of one thing, because I know my Grandad would have seen it, would have read it and would have known I'd thought about him before he died. And even though it's just a postcard, now they seem to mean a little more to me, and now I know why my Granny likes them so much. 


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