Dear Queen Joan,
I have to get a confession out of the way, I raided your cupboards already. I took some shirts and a few other trinkets. I’m wearing one of them as a jacket today. Thanks, you were always the trendy one. I’m wearing your rings as well. They’re soon to be changed into something fabulous and fancy, as you would say. You’ll approve. We all know how you like to be fancy!
How am I meant to say good bye to you?
I’m literally asking because I have no idea. Sure, we knew it would be coming because you’re 93 and as much as you thought you were fancy, you weren’t no superhero or part of the cast of Twilight. I had told myself I was preparing for this since last year already, but when it comes down to it, it’s still a shock and doesn’t feel real. Even now writing this I’m thinking you’re probably ready to announce it’s tea time by asking me if I want some tea, and then I end up making it for us anyway. I see your stealth mode, very smart. Sneaky, but smart.
I think we’re going to see a decline in the Milady’s sales. You loved your new shirts and always exclaimed “Your granny is very hip!” Yes, you definitely were.
My favourite time, Selfie time. Gloria knew when I walked in the door I would make you do snapchat filters and selfies straight away. You would say no, but then fix your hair in the screen and pose. I don’t know how your loyal snapchat fans are going to deal with the withdrawals of seeing you with the latest filter on your face. I know I’m going to miss it. You have quite a fanbase judging from the amount of messages I received saying how sad they were that their favourite snapchat star had retired. And I quote “I fell in love with your gran on snapchat and I am so heartsore, not only for you but for me as well”. I don’t think I bargained on you being the star of the show, I created a monster. A cute, funny, loveable monster.
(I would show you all the videos but my mom and Ally aren’t fans. Gloria is though! Come see me after and I’ll show you outside)
You’re probably quite smug now knowing I have to take selfies alone. I guess when it’s the second sentence that comes out of my mouth after “Hello granny”, you came to expect it and perhaps your eye rolling was warranted. I think you secretly loved it though. Your protests were very short lived.
I loved our letter writing when I lived overseas. I was so home sick I would wait for those letters from you. There’s something special about writing and receiving a letter that just can’t be compared with. I’m going to go and get them out and start reading them again. I know they always ended with, “Your ever loving granny” and that’s just what you were.
Ever loving. Ever laughing. Ever smiling.
*** Update: I went through the first few last night and Nick and I were laughing so much he was crying. When I was homesick the first few months she proceeded to give me a talking to in her letters and basically told me to suck it up and also to stop shopping! She mostly told me what was going on with who and where and why. She was like a walking google. I definitely remembered them a little differently.
What a character you were. A Dame as you liked to call yourself. You were a cross between a Dame and a Queen in my eyes. So fancy. So royal. You loved to speak like a regal royal as well.
Teaching you to pout was one of my favourite things. That and making you stick your tongue out for pictures. Mom would be heard in the background “Don’t make her look ugly”, but you didn’t, you always looked cute. (I’ve got videos of that too)
I remember when you made Bruce and I matching gowns. I don’t know how he felt about wearing a matching Care Bears gown, but I loved it! Carla and I got matching clothes every time she came out from the UK. We were the cutest. I definitely got my sewing gene from you.
Your teeth. You were so proud to still have all of your teeth! I loved bringing it up just so you would go on a tangent about how most people your age don’t have any of their teeth, but you did because you looked after them and it is definitely an Elburg trait. This conversation went on for about ten minutes by the way. Very proud.
When mom and dad would abandon us to go overseas (abandon/leave behind) you would look after us. I don’t remember being too sad, because you always made it fun and it really felt like time flew. It could also be because they brought back amazing presents as well. But I really think its because we had the best time with you. Baking and sewing and having you all to myself. I loved every minute of it. I blame you for my sweet tooth, because you were the best baker and you taught me to bake. Let’s just say I’m glad I went into the field I did or I might be starring in “My 500 pound life”. Moving to Durban was the best thing my parents ever did for us, because it meant we got to live with you for the first year and then be 2km away from you for 28 years. Not many people can say that they were able to see their Granny every day or even every week!
I used to love popping in on my way past. I always knew I could tempt you out with the mention of a cappuccino. There’s not much you loved more than a good old cappuccino. You could be lying down in your pjs when I arrived and you had never moved quicker!
Up, dressed and in the car in 5mins. We would often go on our solo coffee missions on a whim. I think I might have even forgotten to call and tell mom once, and she came to find you missing and possibly thought you had made a run for it.
Things you loved: Cappucino. Apple crumble. Cake. I remember for your birthday this year you were sleeping in your chair. I lit the candle in the wicked donut, placed it on the table in front of you and somehow you were rising with an outstretched hand and about to pick up the whole donut and shove it into your mouth. I kept thinking, thats my girl! While also thinking, she’s going to swallow it candle and all! At least you had your priorities straight, sugar first safety second!
Rest In Peace my beautiful Queen Joan. My favourite person in the world (Sorry Nick) My best friend. My cappuccino companion. My baking teacher. My selfie partner. My “No I’m too ugly to be on camera” but poses anyway character. My heart. My soul. My everything.
I’m sure you’ll miss her snapchat and instagram stories as much as me!
I have to say this, I am so at peace with how I treated my granny, what I did for her since I left school and could drive, and just in general with regards to my time. That is all your loved ones want from you, TIME. I gave her my time and my love. I have zero guilt about the amount of time I saw her, and the things I did for her, because I visited more than once a week, sometimes 4 times a week! It is the best feeling in the world not having any regrets. It’s even better knowing that she knew that too and I know she valued the time I gave her.
If you don’t visit your grandparents or parents or siblings much, do it! You won’t regret it. That feeling is priceless and one that I highly recommend. It helps a lot in this time of extreme heart break and sadness. It is hard enough dealing with a huge loss, and to have regret and guilt on top of it would be soul destroying for me. So do it! Today!
Also, take pictures and videos. Take as many as you can. Even if your family try fight you on it, like she did, just do it because that is all you have left. I have a folder of 500ish items and I am so grateful for it.
Here’s a little video I made of my favourite Grannyisms:
I already miss her so much, but I am so glad I am about to breathe life into her wedding bands and have her with me every day.
Farewell my Queen