Yesterday afternoon, my grandmother passed away. It wasn't wholly unexpected - she was 87, and had been deteriorating slowly for a long time now. But it's still surreal to think that someone who's always been there, through your entire life, is suddenly gone.
Various old photos have appeared out of the woodwork last night and today. I seem to have inherited her hips, along with the gap between my front teeth, my inability to stop eating sugar, and my fussy food preferences.
As a child, I spent hours rummaging through the drawers in her wall unit, playing with magnifying glasses, loupes, and miniature screwdrivers. Quite why she HAD any of that stuff, I still don't know. I learnt to rollerblade (very gingerly) in her tiny back garden. And I spent what seemed like years playing the cassette of the Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat soundtrack in her living room when we moved back to Australia in 1995.
She never complained when I played with the bass pedals on the electric organ until the windows rattled, or when I phoned her in tears at the age of thirteen because the soup I was trying to make had boiled dry and burnt, and I didn't know how to clean the saucepan and hide the evidence before Mum got home. (It boiled dry because I was watching The X-Files on video, and forgot all about it) Or when Puppy Domino stole her bra out of her suitcase on the day she got remarried and ran around the house with it. (Although it's possible she didn't know about that one...)
She wore dresses with liquorice allsorts patterns on them, always sang On the Good Ship Lollipop at bedtime, and made the world's most amazing yoyo biscuits. In a childhood that was spent regularly adjusting to new countries, new friends and new schools, she was one of the few constants in my life. And I loved her dearly.
So goodbye to my darling Gran. Be at peace. I'll miss you forever.
PS. A massive thank you to all of you who sent love, prayers and thoughts on Twitter yesterday. They meant the world <3