Doris Annie Elizabeth Lambert, my grandmother, bearing a striking resemblance to her youngest great-granddaughter. Photograph taken in the mid-1920s at Alhambra Studios, 338 New Cross Road, London.
This is the story of someone who loved and was loved.
One day, one October, arrived a sassy girl. She was given a special grandmother. Her grandmother was a class act. They lived far apart and understood each other in a quiet way. Time wore on, and on they wrote; their correspondence prospered. Little did the girl then realise, that in every letter and with every meeting, her grandmother was investing her with love. Slowly but surely, the young woman (as she now was) inherited a wealth of quiet, unassuming, selfless, tireless, boundless, practical, everyday love. As she did not, thankfully, have cause to rush this love investment (she was far too busy being sassy), the young woman was unaware of its depth and breadth – even up to the moment one day, one January, when her grandmother died. The love endured.
One day, one May, her grandmother’s gift turned to passion. So, the young woman fell in love, proper good, and fell deep headlong. The object of her affection was someone deemed too different. Sassily, she knew better. She knew he was The Man. His eyes stilled her. His hands moved her. She had to learn the hard way to trust her own heart. Only she and he were the truth, the two of them together. She dived into her reserves of love, deeper and deeper. The deeper she dived, the higher they both flew. In their intensity, they tested each other, while others tried to test them. This testing tired them, though they never tired of each other. Fatigue fed the young woman’s restless soul. In time, she wanted to travel, to rest her fevered heart. She and The Man agreed, sadly but truthfully, to part. Even up to that time, the love endured.
As the woman travelled, she took her grandmother and The Man with her, in her heart and thoughts. One day, one August, still on the move, she met an agitated man and helped him calm down. He fell in love with her and her sassiness immediately; he was sad and needed hope. She liked and cared for him, yet had no need to draw on those love reserves; or so she thought. They sustained their friendship over distance and time, and a gentler love and warmth grew. Suddenly, she simply understood he would soon need her more and flew to him. Surely and sadly enough, this was true. She moved closer just as he fell into oblivion. Once again, there were naysayers. Yet again, back into the reserves she plunged. Even up to the moment of his death, the love endured.
The love endured. It could do no other, it had such power, depth and breadth. From then on, one day, every September, the sassy woman would swim to a small, quiet islet – a place first shown her by The Man – to mark the shared birthday of the three. Through tears, she would smile broadly, feeling loved and loving. Staring out over the deep marine blues, she could feel her grandmother’s gift. She had learned that love has no limits, that it endures and that the total sum of the three added up to something far greater.