For one reason or another and due to circumstances beyond my control, most of my life has been spent parted from my grandmother. She lived in Tehran, and we left when I was 8 years old. I am now 50.

During my teens and early twenties she would visit us in England, sometimes staying for long periods at a time. My siblings and I eventually all married and had children and families of our own. As time passed and my grandmother grew older, our busy lives meant we could not spend as much time with her as we would like to when she was in England. Her visits grew fewer and far between and then, the time came, when she could no longer travel the distance. She was last in England about 17 years ago for two family weddings, one of which was mine.

I visited her in Tehran as often as I was able to, which was once every two to three years. In more recent years I went with my husband and two children, now aged 6 and 8.

Each time we visited her in Tehran, I would be overcome with emotion. An emotion such as I had never felt for anyone else. We would at most, have a fortnight together and much of that time was spent just sitting in each other’s company. My children can’t speak Farsi and my grandmother couldn’t speak English, but the affection shared between them, was always evident.

Those were precious days and passed all to quickly. Leaving and saying goodbye was always horribly hard. I would worry and built up to it, at least a couple of days beforehand and on the day, I would do my best not to get upset in front of her. The journey down the lift from her 20th floor apartment in Tehran would always be the same. Once the doors had shut, I had to fight back the tears, but they just kept coming. I began to miss her before we had even reached the airport.

The day I had been dreading for so long, arrived earlier this year. As I was serving my children their supper, my husband appeared at the door. He looked a little nervous and I could see it in his eyes. He just said, “I have some very sad news”...............

Thinking back upon it now, I suppose it was the best way of breaking the news to me, with my children by my side. My immediate reaction was one of shock and whilst I have never quite understood the “I think you better sit down” saying, at that moment, it was all I could do. I looked over at my children and their eyes were fixed upon me. They looked worried and concerned. The only thing I could think of saying was, “it’s ok, don’t be sad, it’s ok. Shortly afterwards the tears came, slowly at first and then they continued through the night. I felt a strange sense of relief and sadness all at the same time. But I missed her. I knew that life had become too much of a struggle for her and I hated thinking of her like that. It was a confusing evening, my thoughts were darting all over the place. I thought of my mother and how I should best console her. I thought of my aunt, the one who stayed in Tehran and sacrificed so much to look after my grandmother. I thought of my grandmother’s youngest daughter who was the quietest and most sensitive and the closest to her. I wondered how she would cope. My head was full of thoughts. I knew that the next day those that could, would fly to Tehran to be present for her funeral, but I knew it was not an option for me.

I lit a candle and placed it infront of a picture of my grandmother. I sat quietly day after day and just cried whilst the children were at school and whilst they were at home. I had never experienced such a sense of loss and longing for anyone before. My children seemed to instinctively understand how I was feeling and they allowed me all the time I needed to mourn and be sad. They just seemed to know how I was feeling, and they shared my grief with me. They looked after me, it was quite incredible for two so young.

Several weeks past and slowly my tears began to slowly dry up. I began to feel the need and urge to do something good in my grandmother’s memory. It was as though I could feel her watching me and I wanted to show and prove to her how much I loved her, even though I already knew she had never been in any doubt of that. I wrote a story about her life, I wanted to give a copy to each of her own children, my brothers and sisters, and Lola and Eliza my two daughters.

The story has now been printed up into a book and is called “The Good Mother Mouse”. It is for sale at £6.50 to include P&P and can be ordered directly from me. My family and I have decided to donate all monies raised from the paperback version to “The Mahak Society”, a children’s cancer charity and hospice in Tehran and one which my grandmother supported.

I have also made a free PDF version of the book available to several hospices and child bereavement charities in the UK, including St Peter’s Hospice, Winston’s Wish and Child Bereavement UK. It should shortly be available to view on their websites.

I hope that the book will help families with younger children to openly talk about their feelings of loss and sadness and how important it is to keep the memory of those we love alive, even when they themselves are gone.

Writing the book and being able to speak about my grandmother, as I often find myself doing through the selling of my book, has been an important part of me being able to cope with my own feelings of grief. Allowing my children to see me grieve openly and freely has helped them to understand a little more about death and how it affects us. It has also shown them that we can heal ourselves by being there for one another.

It has brought me great comfort to know that we have been able to do something positive and worthwhile in her memory and I know that she would be proud of us.

She will never be forgotten and she will never stop being loved.

You can view a copy of the book by typing in “The Good Mother Mouse” and viewing one of the free PDF files available.

If you wish to order a copy of the book for yourself or as a gift for someone, please contact me - Anna Roberts


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Nov 19, 2012
The Good Mother Mouse
by: Doreen U.K.

Dear Anna, I am sorry for your loss of your grandmother. You have written a very beautiful account of your life with your grandmother and the special part she played in your life and in her family.
You have written very sensitively and caring. Your thoughtfullness shines through your writing your story.
I especially like the bond between you and your children and how they care about your grief and carefull not to intrude but still stay close by to offer you support.
I like the bond between your grandmother and her daughter (your mother) and your aunt who stayed close by to care for her. This shows Unity and a bond that most families long for. It was a very precious reading and insight into your world and how you perceive it to be through your loss.
I am also very happy about your thoughtfullness to put together a book to help children with grief. I have always posted replies here to children who are grieving and in a lot of pain. Adults are struggling with their grief and often the children are lost and forgotton and carry a lot of pain throughout their young lives that is never resolved and they then go on in life to carry their pain into their own relationships and it does affect society. This is usually the start of many dysfunctional families. A death in the family can set this off.
I wish you Comfort in your grief and also best wishes with the book, and in life.

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