Hi, everyone. Thank you all for coming. I know that grandma would be happy to see so many people here. She wouldn’t be too pleased that it was her ten-year funeral anniversary, though. But also, who does a funeral anniversary? My family is really weird. I’m sorry you’ve all been forced to wear your fanciest clothes and eat cheese and pineapple on sticks. Grandma’s food tastes were pretty seventies, I think.

A eulogy. Is it still a eulogy if it’s ten years after the original funeral? Or, now we’re all back together again and I never got to do a speech at the real funeral, is it a new-logy? Sorry. I make jokes when I’m nervous or sad. Bad jokes, as well. I don’t really know how to start this. I don’t know how you sum up someone who you loved so much, and who was loved by others, without being soppy. I’m going to try not to cry but knowing me, that won’t be possible. The whole reason I didn’t do a speech ten years ago is because I was 15 and a lanky mess of snot and tears. Now I’m older but I still cry a lot.

I’m going to pretend instead that grandma is here in the room and direct all this at her, instead of talking about her like she’s actually died. I know she has actually gone but I find it easier this way.

So, grandma. It’s been ten years. I should be over it by now, but you know what? I’m not. I hate it. You shouldn’t have died. Why did you? We didn’t even know you were dying. It was Christmas and we were decorating the tree and then mum got a phone call from you. You said you were at the doctors. I think it was a Saturday and the surgery isn’t open on a Saturday. Lee and I were dropped off at our neighbour’s house while mum and dad came to see you. I don’t remember what happened, but I remember sitting at the telephone at the window. I don’t know why.

You never showed weakness, did you? You didn’t show weakness with anything; at least, that’s what mum always said. That’s why your aneurysm was so out of the blue. You had a headache and then you died. You wouldn’t normally tell anyone you even had a headache unless it was really bad so when you phoned mum, she knew something had happened. Do you remember that time you broke your wrist because one of the dogs pulled too hard on their lead? You didn’t moan about it, you were just annoyed that you couldn’t walk both dogs at once. That was you all over. Business as usual.

I want to say sorry. Sorry for not saying thank you for Sunday lunch two weeks before you died. That was the last time I saw you alive. I was a properly miserable teenager, wasn’t I?! We saw you all the time and you know I hate Sunday lunch. And when we all said goodbye at the end, I wanted you to know how annoyed I was that I’d been dragged to a dinner I hated. I don’t remember if I gave you a hug or not, but I do remember that I didn’t say thank you and I didn’t say that I loved you. I desperately hope that you know that I did love you and I was just being sulky. But what if you died thinking I hated you? I didn’t, I promise I didn’t. But if I could speak to you again, I would tell you this.

You taught me to be myself by letting me be myself and by making my own mistakes. That time at the Skegness dance competition when I didn’t want to warm up and mum said I had to? You said I didn’t have to if I didn’t want to, so I didn’t … and the dance was awful. Mum said, “I told you so”, of course, but you said something about it not mattering. I think after that I always warmed up before any competition. You were a master of reverse psychology.

I remember when you used to come over and babysit us. You introduced me to ‘Dinnerladies’ (and therefore Victoria Wood), ‘Red Dwarf’ and ‘Sharpe’ (you thought Sean Bean was good looking. He is. It’s a shame you never got to see him in ‘Game of Thrones’). While the TV was on you would play with my hair with your long red fingernails. I never told you I hated those nails because why would I? You liked them and while I was a miserable teenager, I wasn’t outright rude to people.

We used to cross-stitch as well. You taught mum how to do it and I was taught by a combination of you and her. I think I made a Winnie the Pooh cross-stitch – one of those little kits that are suitable for children. Mum, on the other hand, spent YEARS making one for you for a birthday or Christmas present. It was a house with different flowers round the outside, all with their names. You used to garden a lot and knew all the Latin names and stuff. You tried to teach me, but I gave up once I realised that pretty flowers don’t grow overnight. That cross-stitch is in our house now. I’m glad she finally got to give it to you for your 60th birthday (I think, I might be getting the dates wrong). That means you got to have it for seven months.

Do you know something else I learned form you? It’s really random but … how to stockpile moisturiser. I mean, I don’t stockpile it, not like you did, but I never go a day without putting it on. I still laugh at the time I opened your bathroom cabinet to find at least ten unopened pink boxes of Oil of Olay. Who does that?! I really hope you were planning on using it as currency in a future world war.

I wish you could have met my boyfriends. You’d have known which ones you liked and you’d have told me. I would always have taken your advice over mum or dad’s because you weren’t my parent! I listen to you. You’re like me, only 45 years older. We even look the same – tall, thin, sticky-out teeth. We both wear glasses and we both like sherry (yet another thing I’ve got from you).

Do you know what happened after you died? We had Kim and Tess, your dogs (I don’t know why I’m reminding you, you know what your own dogs were called) put down. We lived in your house for a bit but eventually mum and dad couldn’t cope with having two boisterous Golden Retrievers around and we took them to the vet to have them put down. The vet put a catheter into their front paws and they went to sleep. There was a drop of blood on the floor by one of the dogs. Bright red. I can remember that more clearly than anything else from that whole time period and that makes me mad. Thinking about the dogs dying makes me cry but I think about you dying and I feel sad. I should be in tears over you, not two dogs. Dogs are great and amazing but they’re not you.

Five months later I went into hospital with suspected meningitis, got diagnosed with a weird genetic condition – which I think I inherited from you, so thanks for that! – came out of hospital, sat my Religious Education GCSE the day after and ended up with a B when I was predicted an A; I’d like to blame the medical stuff but I think I just didn’t revise enough (see, learning from my mistakes!). Five months after that we moved across the city. Mum wanted to escape the area and all the memories. We didn’t have time to grieve.

I just miss you. I miss being able to walk to your house, although I didn’t really appreciate it back then. Apparently a 10-minute walk is too far for a 15-year-old. Sometimes I drive past your house. The people who bought it changed the front door and I don’t like it. It’s like you’re not there anymore. I know you’re not there but it’s weird. I can’t explain it. It’s strange and stupid but I’m really angry that they changed the door. That was your house. Not theirs. Never theirs. I bet they got rid of your “outhouse” toilet too, although I do agree with them if they have. It was cold, full of spiders and in the garage; no one in their right mind would want to pee in it.

I also bet they don’t have a bag of golf balls hanging from a nail in the garage. I still can’t believe none of those golf balls were yours! Did you train the dogs to find and pick up other peoples’ balls when you walked them around the golf course?! It was odd the days you came home without random balls in your pocket. The whole area round by the golf course has changed now. You can’t take that little cut-through onto the course itself. Now the way is blocked by a high fence, a main road and a Colourbank Carpets.

I think I’m going to stop now. I wrote most of this in a little coffee shop in Syston and I remember I needed a wee. I didn’t want to stop writing until I’d got out all the best memories I could, so I was really desperate by the time I went.

I hope this hasn’t made you too sad. If it has I hope you’ve got all your dogs there with you – Kim, Tess and Bonnie. Dogs are brilliant when you’re sad.

Goodbye, grandma. Thank you for being you.

I love you.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s