Yesterday I was reminded of a line from The Importance of Being Ernest. As previously noted, earlier this year I lost my grandmother, or more specifically, my step-grandmother, Jane. Last night I came home to find a letter from an Dublin solicitor regarding the loss of my paternal grandmother, my namesake*, Margaret McDonnell. I must be getting careless.
I have wonderful memories of Ireland. I remember looking into my Aunt Bernice's eyes for the first time when I was 19, and seeing my own eyes looking back. I remember eye-wateringly strong Irish coffee before bed on chilly winter nights. I remember hours of singing and laughing at Nick's, my grandparents' local. I remember taking the long way home to avoid the Garda road blocks!
It was in Ireland that Dr. T bought me a ring, and got down on one knee on a sidewalk and proposed.
When my father, Brian, died in 1998, I got a phone call from my uncle in Dublin, who let me know. That call, as per my father's request, was made after the funeral. I have not been back to Ireland since, and I often wonder, if I had been given the opportunity to be part of the family then, by which I mean, had I been invited to the funeral, would I have stayed in touch with my grandparents and my aunts and their families?
For my part, I hide behind the excuse that I am angry with my father. I feel that he deliberately excluded me from his life and death - which, given his track record, is not altogether surprising, but that doesn't make it right. Part of me is very hurt, though, that no one - not a single aunt, cousin, uncle, or grandparent - ever tried to get in touch with me.
I was sad to hear that Madge died, and sadder still that I heard it from a complete stranger. I remember her very fondly - she was tiny but full to overflowing with life and love and laughter.
How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting, when we meet again
*I'm not convinced that namesake is the right word here, as it implies she was named for me, which obviously is not the case. The closest "right" word I can think of is eponym, but I think that's usually reserved for things, not people. Anyone have a better word?