A few weeks after my mother’s death, I left Australia again and returned to my life in New Zealand. My mother had died unexpectedly in an accident, so we were all struggling to make sense of things, but it is true what they say. It is a terrible thing for a parent to outlive a child.
My grandfather wrote to me. It was August and spring had not yet sprung. Not in Auckland where the skies were grey and the air was damp, and not in Adelaide where the skies were blue and the air was crisp. ‘I am writing this letter from the car,’ my grandfather began. ‘Because it’s the warmest room in the house.’ This was typical of him—a pragmatic man with a sharp but subtle sense of humour. Less typical though was how he next spoke about his wife and daughter, both now dead: ‘I hope you know what you mean to me, dear. You are Joyce and Vivienne and you.’
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