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Goodbye Grandma

January 24, 2014

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

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29 Comments leave one →
  1. January 24, 2014 2:17 pm

    I don’t know you, but thanks for sharing. Very moving. Best wishes to you and your family.

  2. January 24, 2014 2:51 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear this and I hope you are doing as well as you can be. It sounds like you were incredibly lucky to have such an wonderful lady in your life, truly inspiring.

  3. January 24, 2014 3:41 pm

    Sorry to hear that Christina, your gran sounds like a wonderful and inspiring lady. So lucky to have had her be part of your life for all those years. A lovely moving post too. Siobhan x

  4. January 24, 2014 4:39 pm

    Christina, I’m so sorry to hear of your Grandma’s passing – she sounds like a truly wonderful lady (and such an inspiration, to do a degree when she did!). I’m sending you the warmest of hugs and do hope that you find peace during this sad time xx

  5. January 24, 2014 4:56 pm

    The second to last paragraph brought a tear to my eye – this was so eloquently written. I lost my grandparents 5 years ago and can honestly say they never truly “leave”, and there are moments when I do feel they are truly here with me, Im sure you will experience this too. Sending so much love your way x

  6. January 25, 2014 9:52 am

    So sorry to hear this Christina. We lost my Dad a few years ago so I know just how hard it is losing a loved one. I’ve always thought it’s important to talk about them even if they’re gone and it’s so lovely that you’ve shared your precious memories of your Grandma here.
    She must have been a pretty amazing woman if she introduced you to hummus!
    Big hugs xox

    • January 29, 2014 8:54 pm

      Oh darling I’m so sorry, I can’t imagine how awful that must have been xxx

  7. January 25, 2014 12:51 pm

    What an inspiring woman! So impressed that she returned to university to complete a degree. And what a lovely photo of the different generations of women in your family! Very sorry for your loss. Lauren x

  8. January 25, 2014 11:14 pm

    Sending you a massive hug. What an amazing and inspiring lady your Grandma was, thank you for sharing her with your readers. xxx

  9. January 26, 2014 10:27 am

    So very sorry to hear that news Christina, sending you and your family lots of hugs xxxxxxxxx

  10. January 27, 2014 10:18 pm

    So sorry to hear Christina, what a very inspiring lady and some lovely memories you have got of her. Love xxx

  11. January 28, 2014 10:17 am

    This is such a beautiful post and I am so sorry for your loss, Christina. I am thinking of you and your family and thank you for sharing such lovely memories of your inspirational grandma. Makes me miss mine too x x

  12. January 29, 2014 7:53 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss. Your words really struck a chord with me as my Mum also suffers from this dreadful disease. Your Grandma sounds like an amazing lady, much love to you

    • January 29, 2014 8:59 pm

      I’m sorry to hear that, how far along is she? Love to your family xx

      • January 29, 2014 9:08 pm

        Thank you. She was diagnosed in 2006 and sadly is in care, she rarely recognises me as her daughter and more often than not I’m her sister! The confusion is becoming much more apparent and often what she says is illogical. I wrote a poem as part of my therapy, it’s at http://anniisantics.wordpress.com/2014/01/05/in-the-moment/. What you wrote about someone’s spirit leaving before their body really spoke to me.

      • January 29, 2014 9:13 pm

        Yes, when I went to visit with my Mum, my Grandma would often mix us up! When she does know who you are though, it’s a lovely feeling. Really unexpected.

        That’s such a beautiful poem, really xx

      • January 29, 2014 9:15 pm

        Thank you. It is lovely when she does recognise me and the illness has taught me not to take my loved ones for granted. Thank you for the compliment about my poem.

  13. January 30, 2014 9:03 am

    I’m so sorry to hear about your Grandma, it sounds like you guys had a wonderful relationship and I love that picture of all of the ladies in your family together. ((hugs))

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