No Tears, a poem

This is my first post of 2022 and I wish you all a happy New Year.

My Granny Joan died when I was 11 years old. I didn’t really understand death at that time, even though I had already read books like Salem’s Lot and The Stand, both by Stephen King. I didn’t realise the permanence of my loss.

During my recent road trip, I visited George in the Western Cape. This was the town where my Granny Joan lived out her last years and died. I lived in George for two years when I was 10 and 11. I tried to find her grave. There are three graveyards and I wasn’t sure which was the right one. I managed to track it down on the internet, but sadly it was locked when we visited. The office that had the key was closed as it was the week after New Year. South Africa only gets going again next week.

I never shed tears

When I learned of her passing

I didn’t understand

I’ve kept my unvented grief

Tightly wrapped up inside me

My mother says I am a romantic and shouldn’t mind not seeing Granny’s grave. But I do mind. I wanted to lay flowers on her grave to let her know I remember her.

113 thoughts on “No Tears, a poem

    1. Hi Frank, Happy New Year. I am fond of the idea of a grave and being able to pay respects to people who have passed. It seems so much nicer and more meaningful than the other alternative available. I am going to try and call the church and see if I can have her grave planted with flowers.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Dorothy, what you say is very true. Granny Joan was more involved in my life than the lives of my younger sisters. I was a quiet little girl who would sit and do artistic activities or play with dolls or read for hours and hours. Having had four vigorous sons, I think granny enjoyed having me visit. She showed me how to make so many lovely things.

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  1. God Bless you, dear Robbie. I believe that your Grandmother KNOWS how you feel for she is around you all the time. I also know that when you are able to visit her grave, she will deliver a sign that she is there with you. ❤ (by the way, beautiful poem).

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    1. Hi Andrew, Happy New Year. I’ve lost all my grandparents now too. My mom’s father died when she was only 16. It is sad to miss out on grandparents. Losing them over your lifetime is much better than never having them at all.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. One of my grandmothers died when I was too young to comprehend it also. I understand your wish very well. Perhaps you will have a chance to return and leave those flowers. I hope so. (K)

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      1. Yes, Robbie, it’s more important when we get older as we think about the people who are/were part of our lives. When there seems to be an “unfinished” business, so to speak in psychology, we want to bring a “closure” to it for our own sake.
        You could find another way to your own satisfaction even if you can’t be there in person. I know it’s not the same as being there. Blessings to you!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. My maternal grandmother’s ashes were buried in my grandfather’s’ grave. The cemetery is now part of a nature park, and overgrown. But when I lived in London, I could still find the spot.
    Best ishes, Pete.

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  4. This line stood out: “I didn’t understand the permanence of my loss.” We don’t when we’re young and even so when we grow older. I think of my beloved ones who have passed on; in fact, I sometimes talk to their photos. They still seem alive to me.

    Poignant post, Robbie!

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  5. That would pull at my heartstrings, too. Sometimes things that happen as children take on a different meaning when we are adults. Lovely poem, Robbie.

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  6. Robbie, being the youngest of a large brood, I never really got to know grandparents. And now, with COVID and distance separating us, I’m not truly experiencing ‘grandparent hood’ to our 5 year olds, myself. I’m happy for you that you have the good memory of your grandmother.

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  7. Poignant and beautiful Robbie. You have described the heart of a child so well! How can we expect a child to grieve, I’ve often thought and written about it as I have been there… seen and experienced such moments, seared on my soul. The difference is that the person I lost to death was my dad.

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  8. A lovely poignant poem, Robbie. This reminded me of the poem I wrote for my grandad, one Remembrance Day. He died when I was eight, and I still remember his laughing at things I told him, that always ended in coughing (he was gassed in WW!) and him telling my Nanna, “take her away before she’s the death of me,” Thank you for the memory. x

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      1. Oh, I am thrilled, Robbie! So glad you enjoyed the read. Since both books cam out in lockdowns ( The Heart Stone and The Memory) – they have hovered around the low numbers on Amazon. Not sure what works when it comes to promotions of books, at all. So thank you x

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Such a heart-touching post, Robbie. A loving poem too. I remember my grandmother she was a darling and she took care of me from when I was a small child. She passed away 30 years back and in the same year I lost my mother too but this is life and it is nice to remember them with love and sweetness.

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  10. I was very affected by my grandmother’s passing in 1979, when I was 19 years old. She was 64 when she passed, from cancer. She was somewhat more of a mom to me than my mom, but I was grateful she was out of pain. It took a while to realize how much I needed to grieve for her and did that. I know how you feel and hope you can visit her resting place when the time is right, Robbie. Your words express how many of us feel or have felt! Belated Happy New Year to you and take good care!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Terri, This poem does seem to have resonated with a number of people. I have been surprised as I didn’t realise I wasn’t alone with this feeling of loss and lack of understanding. I am so sorry about your granny. Mine was 66 when she passed of a massive stroke.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. That’s a lovely poem, Robbie. Sometimes we cannot understand the depth of loss. How sad for you and your sisters to grow up without your Granny. It’s lovely that you tried to find her grave to leave flowers for her. I’m sorry you weren’t able to do so.
    Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I’ve got quite a bit of family (I researched) in one cemetary. Not in the state I live. They don’t have images of the head stones. I’ve thought about writing and sending a disposable camera (making some kind of donation) with the request that they take photos of the stones and send the camera back…

    I’m not sure if I’ll ever get to see them. When family dies and you are to young… or they don’t leave you a space to visit.

    I hope someday you get to leave your flowers. But I’d like to think your Grandmother knows you care…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jules, thank you for your thoughtful comment. Some people don’t want any sort of memorial plaque after they pass and I think its a bit tough for the survivors who would like somewhere to visit. I know my mom and dad don’t want any thing ….

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      1. We had a relative who donated his body to science. After about two years their spouse got the ashes back of what was left.

        Some folks get their ashes spread in places that isn’t local to family. We have relative in buried in different states and haven’t been able to visit…

        The photos and family traditions help. But there can be a big hole. And not much the living can do about it.

        I’ve lived in many states. I like the idea of donating to science. But I have no idea where a plaque should go. I do know I don’t want to take up valuable land space.

        For some I just honor their memories with quiet meditation. And I make sure my grands know who they were and what they did. That’s the best I can do.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. When we moved to this part of the country I took my husband on an 11 hour drive so we could visit the cemetery where my grandparents and aunt are buried. He took water from the nearby creek and washed the lichen off the stones. I lay on the grass and talked to them telling them how grateful I was for their influence on my life. I know that they weren’t actually there, but being by their stones made me feel very close to them.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Hi Robbie, I enjoyed this post –
    Tanks for sharing your reflections on how when your grandma Joan passed away and where you were then vs when you got older)

    Regarding the visiting the gravesite – I guess this is why we have so many cemeteries – because visiting those sacred spaces can be very therapeutic – even though they don’t do much for me – and when I finally visited my dad’s grave – it did not do anything for me (because in my belief he is not there – he in heaven above and will be on my welcome team when I go there).

    PS I am going to link this to a recent post I put up abut “death and dying” (it was not a heavy post but my neighbor passed away this week of cancer – and his widow’s name is Joan – what a coincidence)

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