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This is a question My most treasured possession

What's your most treasured possession? What would you rescue from a fire (be it for sentimental or purely financial reasons)?

My Great-Uncle left me his visitors book which along with boring people like the Queen and Harold Wilson has Spike Milligan's signature in it. It's all loopy.

Either that or my Grandfather's swords.

(, Thu 8 May 2008, 12:38)
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I've been thinking about this one over the last couple of days. And the expression "You never know how much you'll miss something until it's gone"

Let's get the obvious stuff out of the way. I would obviously remove my various financial documents and my computer from the fire, between them I've got pretty much most of what I need, the rest can be replaced on insurance. That takes care of the essentials.

But as for the other stuff? That needs a story.

About three years ago, my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer. The symptoms were very similar to those of stomach ulcers at first, so it didn't get diagnosed immediately. She was in her early eighties at the time, so health problems at that age aren't really that unlikely. She'd always been the grandparent that I'd been closest to, growing up, and though I was lucky enough to know all four of my grandparents she was clearly the best. The longest-lived too, as she was the last one alive.

And it was then that I realised that yes... she was going to die. All of my other grandparents had died when I was younger than 12, and it didn't really hit me at the time. Subconciously, I thought that she'd be around forever, even though my logical mind knew that wasn't true. She was stoic about it. And I started writing to her. I'd never done that before, previously we'd chatted on the phone now and again, and every time I went home from university to see my family I always went to see her too. But never writing before. We sent messages back and forth, hers beautifully handwritten... mine typed on a computer purely because my handwriting is atrocious. And it was good. We got to know each other better over those three years than we ever had before.

I didn't throw out any letters she sent to me. I didn't read them again after the first time I read them, but it just didn't feel right to throw them out. They're all over my bedroom in various misc places. She went through a bout of being really really ill, lost a lot of weight and ended up looking skeletal, the chemotherapy not doing much either. But the cancer went into remission and she pulled through for a time. And lasted another year, though gradually getting weaker and frailer. And still remained mentally alert and strong through it all, despite three strokes. She kept her mind until the day before she died, when she was in a morphine daze.

Near the end, she walked into the hospital on her own power, and that was the last time she walked. She was shipped to the hospice after that, and I talked to her the last time two days before she died. I got to tell her that I loved her and that she'd been a wonderful grandmother, and she heard me. 48 hours later, she was gone, only a few days before Christmas. She was the first person I loved who died when I was actually old enough and mature enough to understand death and exactly what it meant. The first time I cried as an adult. And I got to see the uglier side of it too, all the endless organising, bureaucracy, and sorting out paperwork, legalities, funeral arrangements as well as the obvious physical side of things.

The memories I've got of her aren't going anywhere. And I have photos of her and the family stored on servers so backups aren't a problem. But the letters? They're what I'd take out with me, I think. I'm not sure I'll ever read them again. But they're a reminder of the connection we had, that was just me and her. My mother told me how happy she was whenever she got a letter, and I'd glad that I was able to help her in that way. Even now, six months later, I think about chatting to her, and it takes me half a second to realise that I can't do that any more. The letters remind me to really treasure what you have because it can just go.

Sorry for being all sappy.
(, Sat 10 May 2008, 15:41, 4 replies)
:) click
(, Sat 10 May 2008, 16:02, closed)
*wipes away tears*
(, Sat 10 May 2008, 17:45, closed)
Enough for a book?
(, Mon 12 May 2008, 9:50, closed)
There's about twenty letters total. Not enough for a book, no.
(, Mon 12 May 2008, 16:04, closed)

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