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10 October 2014

My Dear Grandmother

In a few days time it is the anniversary of my grandmother's death. She died on 15 October 2011 of a Pancreatic Cancer. Cancer is not an easy death, ok well no death is easy because death is not natural. But some ways to die are quick, and semi-painless, like a plane crash or murder. But cancer makes its victim suffer for months or even years in agony and pain, slowly deteriorating.
I wont focus on that part of my gran's life though, it was undignified and a cruel way to die.

What I want to share here and think about as it approaches the anniversary of her death is her beautiful attitude and character.

When she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer we were all told that without fail this is a quick and terminal cancer. There was absolutely no chance of survival. However, instead of becoming bitter, miserable or sad because of her death sentence, my amazing grandmother said that she wanted to be remembered as a happy person. Thus she smiled and stayed happy and positive to the day she died. I dont want to ever die (obviously), but if I get old or terminally ill, I want to be like that.

Really her whole life Elizabeth Byrne was known as kind and gentle soul. Many people I speak to that knew her remember her with great fondness. She always had an open house, with space always for an extra person for dinner or for a lift. She is the person who was willing to give up her very own double bed and sleep on the floor when she had only been  married a few months so that another newly wed couple could have a bed.
She would always be willing to listen and to give a gentle hug.

My fondest memory of her though will always remain the time when I was about 3 years old, she loved shopping, and would take me with her shopping and then when returning home, we would stand in the kitchen and unpack the shopping. And she would bring out a cucumber and we would stand there slicing and munching cucumber. Quite possibly this is why I am so fond of cucumber today.

I miss her terribly, every day I think of her. Not the way some would imagine, in a frail body and about to die, I remember her as the incredible woman she was, I think of the photos of her younger days (way before I came on the scene) and how beautiful she truly was, inside and out. And without a doubt in my mind, I look forwards to the day that I can hug her again and welcome her back to life.