Grandma’s Gift

By Sally Giles. Wynn Vale, SA

My Grandma gave me a small watercolour painting framed with a wooden frame and glass. The painting is a tranquil river scene and on the back it says ‘a quiet spot near Loxton’. Grandma told me the woman who painted it met and fell in love with an Australian soldier in London at the end of World War II. She left her family, sailed to Australia, and when she arrived found that the soldier was married. She was devastated and could not face the shame of returning to London. She took up painting and eked out a living selling paintings. She never married and lived alone. Her name is long forgotten.

This small gift has reverberated through my life in many ways and despite moving many times, I have kept it and treasured it. I have often looked at the painting and felt camaraderie with the woman who painted it and solace in the painting. When I, too, was disappointed, let down, and discarded in love, I painted watercolours. The paper, the paint, the expressive style of watercolours was a delight and something wonderful which came from a devastating loss. As my skills increased, my pleasure heightened. I understood how that unnamed woman felt when she was painting her small works of art. How wonderful she could support herself and recover from grief in a creative purposeful way. Why did Grandma give me the painting? She had lots of other grandchildren. Did she know I would be disappointed in love? Was she sending me a message from the grave? Paint, just paint when the shadows of loss darken your door. Whatever the reason, it was a gift given, received and cherished with love.

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Andrew C McTavish
Andrew C McTavish
2 months ago

Excellent! Well structured and well written

Margaret McCaffrey
2 months ago

And the same for writers. Write, just write.