Gran was born a hundred years ago today (10th June 1920). When I realised the 'Grantenary' was approaching, a couple of years ago, I determined 2020 to be the Year of Gran, fully intending to do a hundred things to honour her memory and celebrate her life. Ideas included a mini pilgrimage, re-visiting her recipe box, and writing more letters, since Gran was a keen letter writer. But then - in so many ways - 2020 didn't go to plan. I wondered about just going quiet about my ideas and intentions going awry, but realised that wouldn't be honouring to Gran's memory.
Instead, I want to name - once again - the strong influence Gran had, and continues to have, on my life. Gran is the reason I do the work I do, or rather, our friendship in her later years opened my eyes to the value and contribution of older people in society. Older people continue to be unheard and overlooked, in spite of having so much to contribute to what makes a society the best it can be.
With each new project and collaboration I embark on, I ask, 'What would Gran think of this?' and that usually lets me know whether or not to proceed. While Gran is no longer around, the legacy of our friendship lives on both in my work as well as my outlook. In this way, I fully agree that:
Friendship transcends disappearance. an enduring friendship goes on after death, the exchange only transmuted by absence, the relationship advancing and maturing in silent internal conversational way, even after one half of the bond has passed away. (David Whyte)
(Reflection written on 10th June 2020)