Goodbye Grandma


These belong to my Grandma. My Grandma died on Wednesday night.

When someone is poorly, you never really anticipate the moment that you'll have to acknowledge they may not live much longer. A month ago, I was told that my Grandma was deteriorating and they had put end of life medication in place to make her comfortable should the time arrive. 

She suffered a stroke in 2014 and unfortunately ended up in a care home. She always joked with me and said, "If I ever end up in a home, shoot me". It wasn't that she didn't want to be confined - it was that the thought of such a place scared her. To her, it meant the end of life - but she also thought she would be a burden to people for which she was not comfortable.

She had given up. She'd been in and out of the hospital already, falling at her home and outside and whilst I fought to get her better help - the day arrived when I found her lying on her hallway floor, having fallen and suffered a stroke. Losing the use of the left-hand side of her body she ultimately couldn't care for herself and needed that support in a care home. 

When you are told by the professionals that they don't anticipate, but can't give a time frame, on how much longer a person may live, you start to prepare yourself. You think you know what to expect when they eventually pass away, how you'll feel, how to deal with it. You like to think that you're equipped, emotionally, to deal with such devastating news. 

I was composed when I received the message that my Grandma had passed away. I informed those I needed to and even though I had a cry on my partners shoulder, I was ok. I thought I was holding it together. I knew that the suffering was over for her, the discomfort, the pain, the boredom, the waiting - it was all over. She was a free spirit, with my Granddad and hopefully happy once again. She passed quickly, but peacefully and hopefully in no pain. 

I still have moments where I just cry. I miss her - but I can feel her, I can sense her presence, see her gentle smile and feel her warm hugs. She is helping me be strong because I know she wouldn't want to see me cry. She never wanted to see me upset no matter how small the reason. 

When someone dies, we scan our minds for all of the memories we have. We look for those big and brilliant moments that make us smile or laugh; for the sentimental and sensational that overcome us with emotion. In doing this, we overlook the ordinary moments, the smaller memories, that you'll never get back. 

And it is then that I don't stay so composed.

I'll never walk in to my Grandma's outdated, old fashioned home anymore. I'll never sit on her second hand sofa, walk in her well used kitchen, use her 1940's bathroom or feel her florally pattened carpet on my feet. I'll never see her walk to the shop and open her purse in the way she always did, before returning it to her right hand pocket (but keeping it in her hand for safety). I'll never see her pick up her shopping bag, put on her shoes, comb her hair, put on her watch or her perfume. I'll never see her make a cup of tea, put the washing on and peg it out or make a sunday dinner. She'll never write her shopping list in her little lifeboat notepad or turn her little thing over to the right date - that didn't work properly for years. She won't even need to put her glasses on or her teeth in. 

Never again will I feel the warmth of her hug, the softness of her kiss, listen to her gentle voice, kind words, wise advice or stories from her life. I can no longer absord all of her memories, being utterly amazed at all that she did, all that she saw. Trying to visualise the places in the world she had seen when in the RAF. I can no longer sit and watch Ground Force, Casualty or the Lottery with her as I did when I was a child; and I can no longer drink some hot milk with biscuits whilst reading in bed with her. 

My Grandma was one of the warmest, kindest, most thoughtful people I have ever known. She taught me strength, dignity, respect and morals. She could listen with intent, she could comfort any time. She was always proud of my achievements and she was never shy of shouting about them. Even in her recent hospital days the nurses would greet me by saying "So you're Michael, who she always talks about". She loved her children, her grandchildren and her great grandchildren. She would give her last penny to anyone. 

So, savour the moments with your loved ones. Enjoy them in their glorious living form; real, touchable and huggable. Embrace your time with them, watching them cook, making a cup of tea, putting on their coat or smiling. These are the moments which define someones existance. Enjoy the moments, relish in them, because one day they will just become a memory and you may find yourself in my position - wishing that for one last time, you could experience one of those moments for one last time.

So, until we meet again, Grandma. there won't be a day that I don't think of you. I love you so very much. x

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