I’ve had a bit of silence over here on the blog, and I’ve pretty much dropped off social media for the most part in the last week. I didn’t mean to be quite so quiet, but on Wednesday 15th January I sadly lost my Grandma.
She was only 78, it feels so young, but had suffered with alzheimers for the best part of a decade.
While I was at home at the weekend I wanted to find some photographs of us together, before she became too ill. While I sifted through photograph albums I found this brilliant picture of all the ladies in the family. It’s so special. It must have been taken in 1989, and includes Bonnie (the dog), my Mum, my sister, my Nan (Great Grandma), me, and my Grandma. All such wonderful women. I’ve always felt so close to both my Grandma and my Nan.
When someone’s spirit is taken years before their body leaves us, mourning feels like it hasn’t happened and yet has happened over and over again. The long, drawn out process of coming to terms and accepting the present situation and the future is almost impossible – even when my Grandma was so very unwell, my Mum still had that thought in the back of her mind, even though she knew it couldn’t come true, that she might, one day, come back home.
I have so many special memories of her. She made us dresses when we were young, made the six of us share a regular sized Mars bar when we were on holiday (surely this counts as some kind of child cruelty?) and took me to art galleries – we went to see Tracey Emin’s My Bed when I was around 15, and it was absolutely breathtaking. She introduced me to hummus, bought me my first sewing machine, and talked to me about her favourite artists. It feels utterly surreal that a decade ago I watched as she graduated with a Masters through the Open University. With all of the preparations for the funeral, we talked about how much she loved to learn. She loved to learn, and she loved her family. So much. It’s so inspiring to think about, when I look back over memories from childhood, to my teenage years, to becoming an adult. Sitting in the car as we drove to my interview for University (the first time around) and noticing that she had begun repeating herself. I doubt I’ll ever forget that moment. But there are other moments which bring a smile to my face. Sitting at a restaurant, perhaps for the last time as a family before she went into care, and watching her drink straight from the wine bottle. Brilliant.
Every Christmas I bought her a tin of posh biscuits from M&S – her favourite shop – and this year I gave them to my Mum to bring with her when she visited, every fortnight. I couldn’t make it. Mum gave them to her and said that they were from Trout and I, and that they were a Christmas present. She looked up at my Mum, beaming, and said, ‘Oh thank you, that’s lovely’. She tucked in. The last time I went to visit her she took my hand and squeezed it, looking into my eyes like she knew me. Moments like that are so special. We held hands the whole time I was there.
I tried to find some more recent photographs of her, but I really do love these. My Grandma and Grandad, on her graduation day for her BA degree. I’m so proud of her. Someone told us that the quicker you decline, the more intelligent you were before you became ill. That sure is true for her.
“I do think that families are the most beautiful things in all the world!”
― Louisa May Alcott, Little Women