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It was my Grandmother’s funeral this week. We laid her to rest just under a month before her 95th Birthday. Although she had led a full and long life with very few ailments, it was still sad. To know that I can never talk to her, never ask her advice or simply never actually see her again.

I was so lucky as I grew up living next door to her. I have so many memories of her. She was witty, had an incredibly wicked sense of humour and a cheeky smile that I will never forget. I will simply miss her.

She was a remarkable women who was born in 1921 in London. Her parents were expecting their first child in the June of that year. My Great Grandmother went into labour at home in early March and gave birth to a tiny baby boy, Robert. unexpectedly, she then gave birth to a second baby, a baby girl Barbara. She had had twins! As there were no incubators, they were put into shoe boxes wrapped in cotton wool and placed in the hearth of the fire to keep warm. It is a miracle they survived.

They moved from London to Ewell at a time when the milk arrived on a horse and trap in milk churns and important news turned up with the telegraph boy.

Tennis was her passion and she represented the country against Holland.

She was born in an era when it was hard for women to have careers, women weren’t equal and it was tough. At a young age, she commuted into London on the Northern line from Morden tube station to her job in the Bank of India. The changes she witnessed over her lifetime are quite unbelievable. She remembered Docklands when it was docks with the cargo ships arriving with treasures from all over the world.

It can’t have been easy but it was perhaps all of this that made her the resilient lady she was. She taught me that life wasn’t meant to be easy, that it would have its ups and downs but ultimately it would turn out ok in the end. She was immensely proud of all her family and she did her best to keep us all together as a family by holding a party at the drop of a hat.

She loved to write poetry and after my grandfather passed away she wrote a lovely poem about him:

“You can shed tears that he’s gone,

Or you can smile because he has lived.

You can close your eyes and pray that he’ll come back.

Or you can open your eyes and see all that he’s left.

Your heart can be empty because you can’t see him,

or you can be full of the love you shared.

You can turn your back on tomorrow and live for yesterday,

or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.

You can remember him and only that he’s gone,

or you can cherish his memory and let it live on.

You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back,

or you can do what he’d want,

smile, open your eyes, love and go on.”

Barbara Rudland

I think there is a lesson in her poem for everyone to takeaway. It’s hard when someone passes away but we still have the memories…they will be with us forever… There will be times in life when we need an inner strength and in my case I will think of her….my beloved Grandmother.

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