Thursday, 20 February 2014

Granny has left the building

I've written about my Granny before.  She died two years ago, riddled with Alzheimers, her old self long since gone.

Every time I think of her, I cry.  I miss her.  This is, quite frankly, a ridiculous thing to say, as I only saw her two or three times a year.  She lived 200 miles away, and I didn't see her as often as I should.  I somehow thought she'd always be there.

She had five children.  Her four boys survived, but the girl that she had (who I was named after) died soon after birth.  This triggered her manic depression, or bipolar, and from there on she was given lithium for the rest of her life.  (And in fact, was almost killed by the drug when her GP mistakenly over-prescribed it for months.)  She also had bouts of electric shock therapy, which she said helped her enormously (but 'stung a bit').

She was such a good person.  A farmer's daughter who had struggled, she could seemingly see inside you, understand your emotions before you could yourself.  Her empathy was astounding.  As was her honesty.  She would tell you how she felt about things, if she was cross with you, if she didn't like a present you'd sent.  She would brazenly cut people out of photos if she didn't like the look of them and frame what was left on her mantelpiece.

But you would forgive her anything.  A staunch Christian, she was the secretary to Christian Aid.  She would collect door-to-door in the roughest areas of the city.  She much preferred the poor to the rich, feeling that any display of unnecessary spending was a ridiculous waste of money.

I think of her often, usually guiltily, as I wonder what she would have made of my current situation.  But my sister-in-law phoned last night to tell me that her old house, bought eventually by a builder, was back on the market.  I stalked it on Rightmove and immediately wished I hadn't.  The dark wood furniture, the ticking clocks, the green carpet, the ramshackle kitchen with her knickers hanging from the rafters - all gone.  Replaced by swish wooden floors, knocked through kitchen-diner, glossy white kitchen cupboards.  The random toilet in the middle of the room upstairs replaced by a wet room.

Her bed, the highest bed I had ever seen, gone.

It seems like desecration to me, but of course it isn't.  People die, houses are done up and sold on.  It happens all the time, and so it should.  Houses can't be kept as monuments to those whom we miss.

I still have her eiderdown that she half finished, on my bed.  One day I'll finish what she started.  I also have a copy of the book that she wrote about her childhood, and a couple of samplers from her wall.

And somewhere, I think, I have the postcard that she wrote to me when I was at University, and I hadn't contacted her for a while.  It simply said,

"Have you died?  Love Granny xxx"

11 comments:

  1. Brought a wee lump to my throat!

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    1. Oh thank you! Just you saying that has brought a lump to my throat, too! xxx

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  2. It is interesting how we think about people long after they have gone and small things remind us of them, it is good to remember but it does make you feel sad too. lovely post #binkylinky

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    1. Thanks so much for reading and commenting, Sarah. xx

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  3. A lovely post about your Granny, she was clearly a very strong and amazing lady, thanks for linking up #BinkyLinky

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    1. Thank you MummyWhiskers! Really appreciate your comment. Yes, she was an amazing lady - I feel very lucky to have known her. xx

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  4. My mum passed away 9 years ago and not a day goes by where I don't think of her. Thanks for linking up #binkylinky

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    1. I'm so sorry, Emily. Lots of love to you and your family. xxx

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  5. This is such a lovely post. It must have been heartbreaking for you to see your Granny's house looking so different...but how nice that you have her eiderdown on your bed, waiting for you to finish what she started...I am sure what she would have made of your current situation is that you took your life in your hands and did a brave and right thing, for all of you x x

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    1. Ah...thank you so much. I'm sure there are bits of what I did that she wouldn't have approved of, and she'd have told me about them to, in no uncertain terms! She was a top banana. I've never met anyone like her. xx

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  6. What a lovely post. I had a little tear reading this #BinkyLinky

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