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An Unexpected Goodbye

I had last Friday all planned out.

I was going to get up early and go to work for five hours. I was then going to head over to my parents’ house with my friend Fi. At 2pm, my parents were going to drive the four of us to the coast for the Moruya Jazz Festival, where Fi and I would be performing all weekend with the Strange Weather Gospel Choir.

The day started out as planned. I was at work by 8:30am, working on the submissions I’ve got due next week, trying to condense forty-eight pages into six for our Annual Report, and answering the phone as needed.

Then came a call I wasn’t expecting.

By 12:30pm, I was in the Emergency Department of the Canberra Hospital. My parents, my aunt, one of my cousins. Doctors, in the background.

And my Grandma Mickey, for whom a year ago (almost to the day) I made double chocolate muffins. My Grandma Mickey, who hadn’t been in hospital these past few months, but had been pottering along in her low-care nursing home.

For the next forty-five minutes I held my grandmother’s hand, and stole moments to kiss her forehead whenever I could, whenever someone wasn’t stroking her hair, whenever there was a break between one of us whispering words that we knew/hoped she’d hear. I held my cousin’s hand over the bed, I curled into my mother’s shoulder, I reached for my father.

And then I kissed my grandma one last time.

It was her birthday.

Happy 97th Birthday, dear Grandma Mickey. I hope that, somewhere, there was a cake with candles and a wonderfully creamy cappuccino waiting for you.

We love you, always.

Grandma Mickey

117 comments | Leave your own

  1. Sig

    Oh darling…I am so sorry to hear this. *hugs*

    Having lost all my grandparents when I was quite young, I don’t know how it feels to have the love of your Grandma. But I DO know how it feels to love someone and then to lose them. Your grandma loves you and is probably loving that cake right now.

    If you need anything, I’m only a hop skip and a jump away.

  2. Kari @ bite-sized thoughts

    Oh Hannah…my goodness 🙁 I am so, so very sorry. More than words can say, and I feel a little odd to think that we have had such similar experiences a week apart. It doesn’t seem right at all. My thoughts are very much with you and your family and I’m sending you that big squeeeeeeeeeezzzzzzzzzzzzzzy hug back. I’m so glad you got to see her at the end and I, too, hope that she is having wonderful birthday celebrations with cake that can only be dreamed of. Thinking of you xox

  3. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella

    Oh Hannah my darling, my heart is breaking for you. My sincerest condolences. All I can offer you is my ear if you ever need it and lots of hugs. xxx

  4. Eleanor@eatinglikeahorse

    Oh this brought tears to my eyes… I’m so sorry to hear about your grandma and so cruel that it was so sudden. At least all her family was there and I’m sure she knew that. Hope you’re ok xx

  5. ck

    Judging from the photo, your Grandma had a beautiful face and smile. Hannah, I am very sorry for your loss and my thoughts are with you and your family. xx

  6. Lauren

    I’ll be thinking of you and your family this week, and sending warm, chocolate-y energy in your direction. If your grandmother is any indication, Future Hannah will be one classy lady.

  7. Fi

    Hannah, I have been thinking of you all day xx

  8. Amber Shea @Almost Vegan

    Oh, Hannah. I am so, so sorry. I had no idea as we were discussing wedding-ness that your heart had something like this to hurt over. You and your family have all my sympathies at this difficult time. I love you dearly.

  9. Fiona

    Oh hun,

    I’m glad you had a great weekend planned after that

  10. Vaala ◪

    Oh sweetness I hope you are doing okay. I have no doubt that the most amazing cake was awaiting her and that she heard every loving word that you all had to say for her. It sounds as though she lived an amazing and wonderful 97 years. Try to remember that even though it’s hard.

  11. ash

    I am so so sorry. My grandma has been under the weather too, and I’m so afraid sometimes… My thoughts are with you and your family.

  12. Lou

    So sorry to hear of your loss, Hannah. Sounds like you had very special relationship with your Grandma, and I’m sure those precious last moments together were absolutely priceless for both of you. Sending you much light and love x

  13. Three-Cookies

    No condolences to you and your family

  14. Jo

    big hug Hannah!!!

  15. Heidi - Apples Under My Bed

    Hannah, I am so sorry, beautiful. I am sending you so much love and support during this time, I am. On her birthday, too…that’s eerie and sad and beautiful all in one. You’ve written so lovingly about your grandparents. Your family is so special. I’m sure she’s smiling down on you right now, thankful for such a beautiful granddaughter and family, and drinking her creamy cappuccino. Love love love and then some more xo

  16. Mike

    Hannah … if Grandma Mickey had heard you sing that solo in ‘Saints Are You Ready to Go’ on Saturday evening at the Moruya Jazz Festival she would have been so proud of you. No doubt you will have many, many pleasant memories to cherish, and right up there will be the memory of holding her hand as she passed away. Thinking of you and your family.

  17. Yasmeen @ Wandering Spice

    I’m so sorry to hear of your loss, Hannah. I lost someone very dear to me earlier this year (she was like a second mother and my confidante). It was very unexpected and I understand the swirl of emotions you’re experiencing. Lots of support + a big hug to you. No doubt your grandmother feels all the love you’ve shared with her and is at peace.

  18. Leah

    Oh Hannah my dear!!!! I’m so so sorry for you and your families loss 🙁
    Stay strong and know your grandmother is in a wonderful place xoxo

  19. Johanna GGG

    I’m so sorry to hear your sad news about your grandma – must be tough on top of all the ill health among your grandparents – warm wishes to you and your family – take it easy and look after yourself – wish I could send you a nourishing meal at this time but instead will just send some hugs!

  20. veganlisa

    Hannah, I’m so sorry to hear that your Grandma passed away. It is so hard to lose someone you love. I am sending you and your family lots of virtual hugs and hoping that cherishing the great memories you have with your Grandma will help you through these tough times.


  21. leaf (the indolent cook)

    Oh Hannah, I’m so sorry for your loss. Lots of love.

  22. Louise

    Oh I’m so sorry Hannah. She was my role model for older age. I loved seeing all those photos of her out at lunch, always a glass of pleasure at the ready. My thoughts are with you and your family at this very difficult time.

  23. Victoria (District Chocoholic)

    I’m so sorry about this, Hannah. Take care of yourself.

  24. Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table

    So, so sorry to hear about your Grandma. I’ll be thinking about you and your family. *hugs*

  25. Errign

    Oh Hannah, I’m so sorry to hear this. 🙁 The suddenness of things is always the worst bit, but I’m sure your Grandma was glad to be surrounded by people who loved and cherished her in their lives. Hugs, friend!

  26. msihua

    Oh hun! I hope you’re doing fine. BIG HUGS.. I won’t say anymore as you know how I feel already 🙁 My deepest condolences.

  27. juniakk @ mis pensamientos

    oh dear, hannah, wish i could be there to give u a hug. will be thinking and praying for you. makes me realize again how precious life is and we can’t waste a moment without saying “i love you” and just loving ppl no matter how difficult life can be.

  28. Alayna @ Thyme Bombe

    I’m so sorry Hannah. This seems to be a year for loss for so many people I know, ourselves included. Glad you got to be with her one last time. :::HUGS:::

  29. Evan Thomas

    So sorry for your family’s loss.

  30. Jess: cheshirekitykat

    Oh, Hannah. I’m so sorry. 🙁 I’m sending lots of hugs your way.

  31. ChopinandMysaucepan

    So sorry to hear about your loss Hannah. Be well and know that your grandma is in a beautiful place and at peace, smiling over and blessing your family.

  32. Shannon

    So sorry for your loss Hannah. I’m sure it meant the world to her that you were there to say goodbye.

  33. Lisa (bakebikeblog)

    oh sweetie – I am so sorry to hear about the passing of your nan 🙁 Thinking of you and your family xx

  34. Caitlin @ Vegetarian in the City

    I am so sorry for your loss. I just lost my sweet little grandma this past January. Stay strong! sending happy energy your way 🙂

  35. chanel11

    I send all my love your way. But how beautiful that your grandmother should leave this world at 97 and holding her grandaughters hand, I hope when my time comes I’m doing the same xxxx

  36. Margaret

    Reading this brought tears to my eyes. How wonderful that she lived for 97 years, and how wonderful that you have a large and close family to comfort you.
    Not to mention all the friends who adore you.
    I’ll be thinking of you sweetheart. xxxxxxx

  37. hungryandfrozen

    Sorry to hear this news, m’love. Thinking of you and your family.

  38. Catherine

    I’m so sorry to hear of your loss.


  39. Lisa @ Blithe Moments

    Hannah I’m so sorry to hear your news. Hugs to you and your family at this very sad time.

  40. Ashley

    I’m so sorry for your loss Hannah, it brought a tear to my eye as even in the short while I have been following your blog, it’s completely clear how close she was to you. Lots of love for you and your family. x

  41. Lexi

    I’m so sorry to read this, Hannah. Sending all my love to you and your family. The picture of her is gorgeous though – what a smile! Thinking of you. Lexi.xx

  42. Emma

    And here I was going on about my cat, and wishing you had a wonderful weekend. What a dope I am.

    I can’t even imagine what it’s been like to have one grandparent with you until now, let alone four. Your family has so much love, I’m always inspired by each story you weave them into. Even now, I’m inspired by the devotion you all have for each other; the closeness is so admirable.

    97 and such a sweet smile. Wow.

    Big big love, xo.

  43. Kate (What Kate is Cooking)

    I’m so sorry about your grandmother, Hannah. My grandfather died two years ago and I never got to say goodbye to him, so your grandmother was so lucky to be surrounded by her family when she passed. I hope you’re doing okay- we’re here for you!

  44. Alisa Fleming

    Oh Hannah, I’m so sorry to hear about this. My condolences to you and your family. Nonetheless, what an amazing family she got to enjoy, and for 97 years no less! That truly is wonderful.

  45. Nic@diningwithastud

    Oh Hannah I am so sorry. She looks and sounds like such a beautiful lady and she will be with you for eternity xo

  46. whisperinggums

    Lovely post Hannah … and that photo makes me smile. Not bad for 95 as she was then eh?

  47. Jamee

    No!! 🙁 Hannah I am so deeply sorry for the loss of your sweet grandma….

  48. Julia @ Boredom Abounds

    Oh no, I’m so sorry for your loss.

  49. Anna Johnston

    Oh honey, my dearest bestie. I’m thinking of you, if you need an ear, or food, or beer, or cuddles let me know. I’ll be over as quick as the mini goes. Sending you hugs and strong thoughts. Your very brave. Xxx

  50. Katy

    So sorry to hear of this Hannah. I bet your Grandma Mickey was an amazing lady. *hugs* Take care xxx

  51. Bryan

    Sorry to hear this, Hannah. I’m happy to see grandma is so well loved by everyone.

  52. Helen (grabyourfork)

    *hugs* I can see the twinkle in her eye in the stars of the sky. I am sure she will always be close, wherever you are 🙂

  53. Three-Cookies

    Hi Hannah, terribly sorry, I just saw that I wrote by mistake “No condolences to you and your family”. I guess you figured it should have read “my condolences”. This is perhaps one of my worst typos ever, and it was relating to a sensitive issue as well. I am really really sorry about this.

  54. Tammy

    Oh Hannah. I am so so sorry. I love my grandmother more than anything and I cherish every day that she is on this planet with me. Know that she’s still with you and that you bless her everyday.

  55. Kath (My Funny Little Life)

    I am so sorry, Hannah! All my thoughts are with you and your Grandmom! Sending you a BIG HUG all across the ocean! 🙂

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    Oh, Hannah! Now I feel terribly insensitive for leaving such blissfully-ignorant-of-your-pain comments just now. Big hugs from Paris, I know your grandma lived a good life, surrounded by people who loved her very much. And in the end, isn’t that all any of us can ask for? Now I’m welling up. SO MANY HUGS.

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