Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A good end

My grandmother

This post has nothing to wargaming.

My grandmother died on Sunday - she was 93 years of age and left behind her five sons and a daughter, an imposture* of grandchildren and a circle of cousins and friends that was as wide as it was varied. She died peacefully, after a brief illness, after a life that was happy and full. She was laid out in her own home last night and several hundred people passed through the family home to see her. My wrist is aching from shaking hands and I am hoarse from talk.

Gilbert and Sullivan wrote that whenever Death calls, he must call too soon - a sentiment that seems still seems to have common currency, unlike many of their themes. I was told by a family friend, a good woman who meant it sincerely, that my grand mothers death was tragic. It was not. We, her family, will miss her kindness, her strength and her legendary hospitality; but hers was not an end that was tragic. She died with her sons and daughter looking over her, amongst friends and with Christ in her heart.

I have seen people die and I have seen people dead. Often these people are alone, sometimes unloved and often unmourned. They die young and they rarely die with their family by them. Sometimes they die in the knowledge that blood was shed in an everlasting covenant for them, sometimes not. On occasion there is only a public servant present to see to their remains. Children die and that is always unlooked for. That they die innocent is little consolation for us who remain behind. Our understanding is as limited as our vision.

I am grateful for my grandmothers life. I am grateful that she had such a gentle quietus. I pray for her as well as those who are not so lucky. I pray for those who hold death so terrible that they cannot conceive of a good one. In life we are in the midst of death and I hope that if we can aspire to live a good life, we should also try to make a good end. My grandmother did both. I can think of no finer legacy.

*that is the correct collective noun for a group of Kinchs. In print of course we are a libel of Kinchs.


  1. A message in sympathy on hearing of your loss, Conrad. A beautiful observation on her life is a fitting tribute.

  2. Conrad you have my deepest sympathies and may God give you a peace that passes understanding as you grieve her loss. My prayers are with you and your family at this time ... Jeff

  3. Conrad Kinch,

    Please could you pass on to your family my condolences on the death of your grandmother. I never knew her ... but after reading your blog entry, I wish that I had.

    I found your blog entry to be very moving, and it reflected the obvious high esteem and love in which your grandmother was held.

    A good death after a good life is the best we can all aspire to. As to what comes after death ... well one day we will all find the answer to that question.

    Bob Cordery

  4. My condolences in respect of your loss, and my congratulations in respect of the benefits you received from her life.

  5. Very well said. That sums up my family's approach as well.


  6. Thank-you for sharing such a personal matter with us.

    I think many of us, in the modern world, are so sheltered from the reality of death that we're ill equipped to deal with it when it impacts our lives.

    It certainly sounds like your grandmother lived a good life and had as good an ending as any of us could hope for. God bless her and to you and yours, my condolences for your loss.

  7. Thank you for this wonderful tribute to your grandmother and profound meditiation on the idea of the good death.

    Rest eternal grant to her, O Lord, and may light perpetual shine upon her.

  8. My thought are wiyh you and your family.

  9. "Eternal be her memory" as we Orthodox say.


  10. I remember when my grandmother died at age 95 . . . and the "funeral" was really a wonderful "celebration of a life well lived".

    It sounds like your grandmother met a similar passing.

    -- Jeff

  11. Vale, Conrad's Gran.

    Extremely well written, CK. A moving tribute to a full life, well lived, loved by all her offspring.

    My sympathies to you and yours.

  12. My condolences.

    I agree with your sentiments. A good life and a good end.

  13. Hi CK,

    Please accept my sincerest condolences for your loss and that my thoughts are with you and your family at this difficult time.

    In deepest sympathy,


  14. CK

    Sorry for your loss. A very nice note. My grandmother died at 99 after a long and full life, having done the crytpo-quote puzzle she went to bed and never woke up). We should all be so lucky.


  15. Great photo of your Grandmother Conrad I bet thats the age she felt through most of her life! The body changes but the mind stays young.Seems to have been a much loved women judging by the pain in your hand.Very nice that you were able to put a tribute up here in cyber space which is I think eternal.


  16. Sorry for your loss Conrad,my sympathies.

  17. Condolences, and thank you for sharing your observations about your grandmorther's life and all of our mortality.

  18. Thank you very much to you all for your very kind comments.

  19. Condolences for your loss. I quite agree with your conclusions.