A Week To Say Goodbye

Last week was one of those weeks I knew I'd eventually have, but would never really be prepared for.

Last week was one of those weeks I knew I’d eventually have, but would never really be prepared for. You see, my Grandma passed away.

We only found out she had stomach cancer in January, yet she had problems since just after halfway through last year. While never one to complain — hers is a loving, practical attitude to life — I’m glad for her that she’s no longer suffering.

I got a call on Tuesday from my sister that things were looking pretty bad for Grandma, so I’m glad I was able to race up to Ballarat and join my mum to sit with Grandma at her bedside during her last few hours. The caring and compassionate staff at the palliative care unit — Gandarra — knew that it was going to be the day.

While it was one of the hardest things to do, I was glad to be able to be there in person and say goodbye, and give my love and support to my mum too. Grandma passed away ever so peacefully in her sleep while I held her hand and mum gave her hugs — it’s a memory I will never ever forget.

My uncles, aunties and cousins had also been up to visit on the final day, along with the local Ballarat Salvation Army captain to read scriptures to Grandma.

We then had Grandma’s funeral on Friday … and my cousin Marnie and I both gave little tributes to Grandma during the service. If ever there is a time that public speaking is not easy … this is it, a family funeral.

One of the fascinating things I learned during the service about my Grandma was that, being born in 1925 (just before the start of the Great Depression) and the 11th of 12 children, there was a time when her family lived in a one bedroom place. It’s hard to imagine these days what that would have been like. A visit to Grandma and Pop’s (and later to Grandma and Phil) was always one with a hearty roast dinner and a delicious apple pie dessert … we live in lucky times.

My memories of Grandma are like one great big umbrella of happiness that covers the nearly 39 years I’ve known her … fun and excitement, love and kindness — and a positive attitude even if things weren’t going well. If you ever get to be Grandparents like I’ve had, then you’ll really be leaving a hugely positive impression on your grandkids. However I’m feeling on any given day, I can always think of Grandma and Pop and find some happy memory to make me smile.

I also discovered at the service probably where my sense of ‘community contribution’ comes from — as I realised both generations before me … my mum and dad, and my Grandma and Pop all were involved in committees and voluntarily working with various clubs and organisations. I’m sure that’s part of why I’m a Rotarian now.

I really haven’t written this post to provide a business insight … other than one of keeping a perspective on what happens in life. To have the ability to be with my family, and remind myself of what’s really important in life … as emotional and sad at times that the week was, it was a week I’ll never forget.

It was also a reminder of not worrying about the little things in business that don’t really matter. It’s a good reminder to keep my eye on the “big rocks” … and to not put things off, to reaffirm my goals and dreams, because we’re not here forever. Life goes on.

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