End of an Era

I didn’t realise it was to be the last time I would open my next door neighbour’s window – to let the air in through a window she couldn’t reach. I only had the honour of knowing Thelma for less than a year of her extraordinary 96 years of life. Now it feels like the end of an era.

Her granddaughter called to tell me the sad news her Granny had passed away peacefully. She wasn’t sure who else to tell with such a small family and most of the names in Thelma’s address book scored out having outlived all her many friends. So I told her granddaughter Amy about this group.

I told her about the thousands of people around the world who in recent months had shown such kindness and interest in Thelma’s welfare following posts I’d shared in this group describing her extraordinary Granny – and how she’d touched my life.

Her Granny who’d been the first person to knock on my door to so warmly welcome me to the neighbourhood when I moved to this little village in Cargreen in Cornwall. Her Granny who then somehow became my lifeline and lockdown buddy with our regular chats – keeping each other company as I plied her with shortbread and she plied me with stories of her amazing life travelling the world in the Navy in her younger days. We shared a deep love of water – as well as a love for our same window view.

I told Amy how her Granny had smiled from cheek to cheek when I passed on the wonderfully caring messages to Thelma from around the world. I told her how I’d teased Thelma for accidentally becoming an ‘internet sensation’ in her later life – which made her giggle no end. What turned out to be Thelma’s final email to me contained a message of joy and gratitude for that. She wanted me to pass it on, so here it is:

“I want to say a big thankyou to you and all the wonderful kind people there are out there!!!! It is very comforting to know I have just wonderful, helpful neighbours here and so far beyond. I much appreciated the windows being opened for a while”.

I for one will miss and cherish my time with Thelma and the unexpectedly precious showing of such global neighbourly love that happened on this online community during our lockdown adventure.

It’s feels fitting, and rather beautiful, to think Thelma might even get to travel the world for one last farewell via this group. Her granddaughter certainly found it comforting to know there were others who might be thinking of her Granny too.

Perhaps in her memory we might keep opening the windows for all those extraordinary neighbours just like her…?

Rest in peace dear Thelma. Sail free, you inspiring and glorious adventurer ?

By Debbie Geraghty

Hailing from Scotland and now living in Cornwall, UK. A window gazing lover of river and clouds. A visual storyteller and wondering wanderer who tries to live deeply - but lightly.

8 replies on “End of an Era”

I got goosebumps reading this. Thank you for telling us about Thelma. It sounds like she was a very remarkable lady.

Thank you Linda. Yes, a remarkable and inspiring woman indeed. Grateful to have known Thelma during an extraordinary period of time that she brought great perspective to.

This is the most wonderful moment in our plague year. People healing, people helping each other, people recognizing the beauty in Life and people honoring those who have passed on. Thank you!???

Thank you Linda. I agree, the pandemic has shown up what is most beautiful and kind in people and that has certainly been very comforting to witness. So rare for so many all over the world to have such a shared experience – young and old. Thelma had survived so much and yet always spoke so fondly of the spirit of people coming together. Through this experience I really began to understand more deeply why she felt that.

Thank you Linda. That’s so lovely of you to say that. I’ve only been writing for this lovely Facebook group during the pandemic to keep me feeling more connected during lockdown so I’m not a published writer I’m afraid. This is just me looking after myself to support my recovery from “long covid” that has unfortunately kept me off work for the past few months. This community has been such an encouraging delight.

With all the unrest here in America, political and virus related, it was a delight to read of you and Thelma from your beautiful corner of the world. Being born in England, I am delighted to read and see the beautiful charm of Cornwall and of the lovely Thelma. May her Memory be a Blessing.
When this nightmare is over, and I pray soon, I plan to visit my family once again and travel to the beautiful places I’ve seen on this page. Cornwall, the Lake District and so much more.
Thank you for your delightful blog?

Thank you so much Eleanor for your beautiful message. I’m so glad you enjoy some of my musings from Cornwall. Thelma was a true delight and it’s so wonderful her story has shone some much needed hope across the world. Whatever happens, I always try to remain an unfailing optimist who believes in the immense goodness and kindness in the world. And, gorgeous messages like yours are very much proof of that. Stay safe Eleanor and I do hope you get to travel to your favourite places very soon. Warmly, Debbie

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