I only knew my paternal grandmother for three years. I met her during my time as a student at Imperial College. Even in that short time, I soon realised that she was a woman of strong will, overlain by a lot of light-hearted joking and optimism.
She was born on a Tuesday, met her future husband on a Tuesday, was engaged on a Tuesday and was married on a Tuesday. In fact, she had been married three times, each time on a Tuesday and each time it was to the same man.
My grandfather, a surgeon in the British army in ‘the East’ had come back to England with the express purpose of finding a wife. This was not an uncommon course of action in those days. They met, got engaged and went through a marriage ceremony in England. By then, his leave was up and he sailed back to Burma that same day. The haste was due to his concern that my great grandmother would stop the process if it wasn’t formalised before he left. When my grandmother arrived in Rangoon they went through another ceremony, this time for the sake of propriety. However, Gran was determined to have the ‘real deal’ and wanted the full white dress, bridesmaids, best man, and so forth, and this was accomplished, again on a Tuesday, a month or so later.
I never did ask after which wedding day the marriage was consummated – one didn’t. But I do know that she had three children, one of them my father and that they were all born on Tuesdays. Sadly, one of them died, also on a Tuesday.
When I met her, she was a feisty, beautiful grey-haired woman with a wicked sense of humour. She was confined to a wheelchair by crippling and painful arthritis. After I graduated, I left England and started my career-based travels through the Antipodes, so the rest I learnt from my aunt, her daughter.
Gran was clearly failing one Thursday and her doctor was convinced she only had a day or two left and that he would be needed over the weekend. He announced that he would forego his regular golf weekend, so as to be around when needed. My aunt assured him that Gran would live past the weekend and insisted the doctor went off to golf as usual. He returned on Sunday evening, fully expecting to find that Gran had passed. When he returned, he was very surprised that she hadn’t. She was quiet on Monday, joked a bit. During the night, Aunt woke up and went in to see her. Gran was awake, and asked “what time is it?” to which aunt replied, “it’s twelve thirty-five.” After a small pause, Gran said: “So, that means it’s Tuesday.” With that, Gran stopped breathing.
Never underestimate the power of your mind. Use that power wisely, with integrity and to good purpose.