Mark’s mom passed away on Saturday morning after a month long battle with death and I find myself thinking about her more than I thought I would. In a recent post I mentioned we weren’t as thick as thieves and we never would have been, but I saw all she did for her son, my husband, his sister, her grandchildren and anyone else lucky enough to be touched by her.

I would be a hypocrite now to say how much I adored and loved her, and so I’m not going to. But I’m incredibly sad. I’m sad for my husband who had a close relationship with his mom. Through all the years, when he felt he had let everyone down, she was always there for him. And not because she had to be. It was because she wanted to be. I’m sad for Mark’s sister who has lost a confidante and a friend and I am so so sad for her grandchildren, especially Emma and Ben.

Dawn’s love for her them was unconditional. It knew no boundaries and had no limits. And over the last few days I find myself crying as I think of all the things she did for those around. Little things that went unnoticed. But will now be missed so very much.

At Christmas time, when we arrived at their home for our holiday, granny had completely Ben-proofed the house. She had put up gates and removed ornaments (she loved her bric a brac). She had found a cot just for him and had hired bikes for all of us, including a little seat for Emma. She had asked neighbours for canoes and kayaks and little rubber floaty things. She had gone out of her way to get us car seats for Ben and Emma. 

The year before last Emma’s granny almost assaulted Santa and his elves at the annual Christmas party. As part of the ceremony, the ‘elves’ (unsuspecting women who live on Thesen Island) would pass Santa (poor unsuspecting fat man who also lives on Thesen Island) and he’d call out the kiddies’ names. And Emma’s gift would be picked up and before he could call her name, the helpers would give him someone else’s present. Granny Dawn watched this for a while. And then she swooped down like only a granny could. She gave those women a mouthful and demanded that her grand daughter get her gift immediately. I cringed with embarrassment, Mark shrugged his shoulders in a ‘that’s my mom’ kinda way and everyone else just stood. Speechless.

Emma and Ben’s granny loved baking and before we’d leave JHB for Knysna she would take orders for fudge, burned shortbread (Mark’s favourite) and toffee (in various consistencies for everyone’s personal preferences). This December she made two Christmas cakes. One for the grown-ups and one just for Emma, with cute little icing decorations all over it.

In her passing we have realised Dawn had no enemies. She had her feet firmly planted in the ground and always looked towards the stars. Dawn’s love for animals was Dr Doolittle-ish. In the mornings we’d find wagtails in the kitchen eating cheese out of her hand. On one occasion I was ceremoniously moaned at because I had mistakenly taken their cheese, already grated and in a Tupperware dish.

KC, their Labrador, was adored like no other dog I know. Because of Dawn KC went to a ‘human’ dentist and in KC’s last few weeks alive Dawn slept next to her on the floor downstairs because KC wasn’t able to climb the stairs to the bedroom. 
Dawn’s love of her family and friends was overwhelming. And it’s something I battled with. I hated that she always fussed over me and as hard as I fought it, she never gave up.
She was the epitome of what granny love is all about. And I’m going to miss that. Her influence in Emma and Ben’s life is going to be felt everyday and for that I am incredibly sad. And even though I know she’ll make sure she’s never too far from us, an angelgranny just isn’t the same as one on earth. I still haven’t found a way to chat with Emma about this, although I told her the other day that granny has gone to heaven. Emma asked me, hands on hips, ‘who’s Heaven?’ and ‘why didn’t granny wait for her to go too?’
Today we lay Dawn to rest. I pity the poor soul who finds him or herself next to her on a cloud way up high. Granny could talk the hind (and front) legs off of a donkey. But whoever gets to share her cloud is one lucky person. 
Dawn, rest in peace. We will keep you in our hearts forever and your memory will live on in the way you raised your children. We will talk about you often and fondly and occasionally we’ll giggle at your little quirks. We have already chosen photographs of you to put around the house and unlike our other DIY projects, these will go up in the next few days. 
Rest well until we see you again

Do not stand at my grave and weep,

I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow;
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain;
I am the gentle autumn’s rain.
When you awaken in the morning hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft star that shines at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry.
I am not there; I did not die.



6 thoughts on “a tribute to a grannyangel

  1. I love that you're honest about your feelings towards your MIL. I have the same relationship with mine, while I can't say I adore her, I can say that I love and respect what she does for her son & that she has accepted my children unconditionally.
    Condolences to you all especially Mark, Emma and Ben. xxx

  2. It is aweful to lose a parent. As kids we tend to think of them as invincible, as adults losing one is just devastating. My heart goes out to Mark who will miss his Mommy everyday. To you and the kids – I'm SO sorry for your loss.


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