“She never forgave him for dying?”
“So close to their diamond wedding anniversary, you see. She missed out on their message from the queen.”
“She will not be happy now then.” Memory brought life back to the face of the redoubtable dame who had been my great-grandmother. “So close to a hundred.”
A true story… my great grandfather seriously upset his wife by dying shortly before their sixtieth wedding anniversary. They had married in 1912, they would both be twenty that year. Their courtship had involved great grandad walking across the moors to court the pretty young lass he had fallen in love with. When he died in 1970, Great Grandma was devastated. Not only because she was sort of used to having him around, but because she would no longer qualify for the congratulatory telegram from Her Majesty that was sent out to mark such occasions… and she had been counting down the years.
She was indeed a redoubtable woman and had far more birthdays than was her fair share. The handwritten certificate of her birth gave the date as ‘the 30th, the last day of March.’ As there are thirty-one days in that month and she herself was uncertain which date was correct, she insisted on celebrating her birthday twice.
Great Grandma, in spite of ill health, retained her character and humour and, although they remember very little of their ‘very old grandma’, my sons had their great-great-grandmother in their lives until my youngest son was nearly four.
When it became clear that she was finally about to give up the ghost, she hung on with all the determination she could muster but just failed to reach her centenary by a matter of months. Great Grandma was really not pleased about missing out on both her telegrams from the queen.