Madge: 3 months before and 1 week after.

I met brilliant photographer Dragana Jurisic last night when she joined myself and my 30 Days friends to take a few pics of our Full Moon dip in the Irish Sea.

While looking at her site today I came across a list of things she remembered about one of the last days of Yugoslavia.  The list is powerful, emotive, evocative, and terrifying.  Click here and scroll to the end of the page to find the list.

Dragona’s list perfectly captures a life-before and life-after type day.  We’ve all had these days even if most of ours pale in comparison to the extremity of Dragona’s.  These day shape us forever and echo throughout our lives.

I made my own list.  It’s about the period either side of my Grandmother’s death.  I lived with her most of my childhood.  She died when I was 11 and my world hasn’t been the same since.  I don’t know if it’s any use but it’s sincere, which is all I wanted it to be.  She was Gran to me but her friends called her Madge.

My eldest boy, Scott (age2), baking with his now deceased Great Grandmother.
My eldest boy, Scott (age2), baking with his now deceased Great Grandmother.

Madge: 3 months before and 1 week after

I remember we spent all our days in the kitchen.

I remember licking the baking bowl clean.

I remember cigarette burns on edges of counters.

I remember feeling guilty for stealing chocolate.

I remember visiting her in hospital and getting chips on the way home.

I remember seeing the cancer break through the skin on her nose.

I remember how self-conscious this made her.

I remember I never heard her complain.

I remember conversations stopping when I entered the room.

I remember not knowing she was going to die.

I remember visitors from the country who I didn’t know.

I remember learning they were her brothers and sisters.

I remember her crying, once, and holding me to her chest.

I remember her lying in her bed, sedated.

I remember the nurse saying she wouldn’t speak again.

I remember she spoke one sentence to me the next day.

I remember being angry when I was asked to stay in my Uncle’s house.

I remember the phone ringing the next day and knowing she was dead.

I remember being told it was all right to cry.

I remember trying to force myself to cry.

I remember having my hair tousled by strangers.

I remember fivers being slipped into my hand.

I remember being in the good room even though it wasn’t Christmas.

I remember how empty the house felt when she was gone.


I can’t remember her smell.


I can’t remember her voice.


My Aunt still lives in the house.

Every January 6th she has a party for the family.

I don’t spend much time in the kitchen.

I remember what rooms felt like when she was in them.

Dragona's list, click to enlarge
Screen shot 2015-03-06 at 21.56.55

It's good to talk

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