Dear folks,

Please excuse the hiatus in journal entries over the past few days. Unfortunately, I have some sad though not unexpected news to report. Some of you may know I’ve been doing a fair amount of traveling to France this year to be with my grandmother, who has not been well. Last Wednesday after a final illness she passed away.

Nothing I can write here would adequately explain what an extraordinary person she was. Very few people can claim to have a grandmother who has climbed the Andes mountains, traveled to remote villages in India and Africa in the nineteen sixties and seventies, or visited China after the death of Mao. She island-hopped throughout the Pacific and crossed the Congo in a jeep, the heart of darkness notwithstanding. She was at ease in a tent, in a kimono, before an emperor, in a grass hut, in a royal banqueting hall, at a tea ceremony, treating everyone she met with the same respect, kindness and curiosity. She had absolutely no fear.

When she was still well enough, the last book she was reading was ‘Unsuitable for Ladies: an anthology of women travelers.’

She was bed-ridden only three days before she died. As she lay there, she told me eagerly how much she was looking forward to this last and most intrepid journey. The only problem, she said, was that there was no travel literature she could brush up on before going on to that Other Country. Never mind, she said. It’s the unexpected things that bring the most joy.

I will miss her more than I can ever say.

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28 Responses to hiatus

  1. Helen says:

    I’m so sorry to hear that, Mary, but what an amazing life she led. She must have been a true inspiration.

    • MaryV says:

      She did and she is. A lioness, one of my other friends called her, and I think that sums it up. Funny: she was a tiny woman physically, no brawn to speak of. But unstoppable.

  2. Shirin S. says:

    What moving, beautiful, precious words. She is watching over you, darling Mary…

  3. *hugs* I am sorry for your loss and happy for the wonderful life you have shared with an amazing woman 🙂

  4. So sorry to hear that Mary, but how wonderful that you got to say goodbye and you have such an incredible role-model in your life. She sounds a remarkable woman.

  5. Tyson Perna says:

    I’m sorry for your loss, Mary. It sounds like she left a great legacy to inspire you.

    • MaryV says:

      Thanks Tyson, she did… basically, if I get cold feet about going anywhere, I just have to remember she’s probably been in the vicinity, forty years ago and without a gps!

  6. Asakiyume says:

    My condolences on the loss of your grandmother–but what a wonderful, wonderful woman and what a way to go–embracing the adventure of the final journey. I hope I can be like that.

    It’s hard for us left behind, though. I feel for your sorrow.

  7. I too had a very very special grandmother. Mine left me more than two decades ago, but I still miss her to this day. I am so sorry for your loss.

    May your memories stay bright.

  8. Cassie says:

    those were beautiful words, Mary. I got teary reading them! She sounds like an amazing woman, and a wonderful grandmother, I hope this last journey is everything she hoped for.

  9. Terry Binding says:

    So sorry to read of your Grandmother’s passing, Mary. What an amazing lady. Obviously you shared a very special closeness which will stay with you forever. She’ll never be far from you.

  10. Helen Lowe says:

    Oh, Mary, I do feel for your loss–but now I am longing to hear more stories of your grandmother. She sounds an amazing person and also very courageous. We need the stories of people like her told–for that most selfish of reasons, to shine a little more light into our world. Take care of yourself though; its so hard saying goodbye to someone you love deeply and have been so close to.

  11. Vered says:

    What a beautiful life well lived! I had the honour of meeting the Nakhjavanis at the Bahai World Centre in Haifa, Israel, on several occassions. I loved her comments during her final days – looking forward to the ultimate journey!

  12. So sorry to hear this,Mary – but oh, what a woman she was! It’s a little early for this, but perhaps later you might consider making her the subject of a book. Her adventures sound far more exciting than the stuff we read in the average novel. Women travellers are a fascinating subject.

    *I’d* buy it!

    • MaryV says:

      Ha – I don’t know whether I’d do her justice. But as per my comment to Helen above, I very much hope someone will, one day.

  13. Morag says:

    So sorry to read this, Mary. I’m sure you will treasure your memories of her for the rest of your days.

  14. What an adventuress! I’m so glad you were able to spend time with her in her last months. Perhaps she’ll inspire a character in a book of yours – or maybe several characters!

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