I don’t remember a lot of my Gran, I must have been quite young when she died but she lived about 15 miles from us in a place called Ellesmere port. It has a charming name, but in my mind it’s also been a bit of a desolate shit hole. But still charming in that sense hahah.
What I remember:
Driving down the motorway past the Vauxhall car factory and what looked like an abandoned barn and always wondering about it. Then arriving at a little bungalow and hiding behind my Dad, with my head up his jumper so my head is covered and giggling as she comes to the door.
I remember the set out of the front room, kitchen and especially the garden. I couldn’t tell you how little I was but once I got lost in it and couldn’t see over the extremely long grass. It was a long narrow garden with only grass, and then the horrendous noise of the lawn mower was just terrifying, and I eventually found my way out, obviously.
I remember the bright yellow sunflower bed that was eventually moved into the front room. Anything other than that would after she died.
What I am told:
She would never eat her food and always tried the flush the sandwiches made for her down the toilet.
She would be so annoyed at the long grass she would try and cut it with scissors, until my Dad/Mum came around to cut it.
And she had Alzheimer’s. I was only little when she died, and thinking about it, maybe I do remember times where my Dad would try and get us to talk saying ‘Don’t you remember little Emily?’, but it’s not a firm memory, and I probably thought this was just normal for old people. I was also named after her which I also love the thought of now I am older.
She would call my Dad and say she didn’t know where she was, and my dad would say ‘Are you sitting on a bed with a big yellow sunflower on it?’ and she would say ‘Yes’. To which my Dad would say ‘You are home Mum.’
I only realised this when my dad was in hospital and my 2 older sisters said she had it to, and it all fit into place. Now I don’t ever try to write about things I don’t know about, and I don’t know enough about the science of Alzheimer’s being in the family, but if there was an indicator that sits in my family, its right in front of me.
This also links with mine and my father’s relationship with graveyards. We would often pop down and put flowers on her grave, but we would also walk around and look at all the old gravestones. We would wonder about all sorts of stuff such as what it would be like in the time, why they had that verse on there grave, all the way through to the meaning of life and heaven and hell. Deep stuff hahah
But I was just reflecting on the last weekend I had with my father and remembered today is her birthday. I am TRULY shit with remembering birthdays, but my Mothers is tomorrow, and it has always stuck with me that today is my Grans. If I am honest I don’t even remember what I called her, Nan? Gran?
She was my only living grandparent, and very close to my father’s heart, and only now am I seeing the true reflection of that in both my relationship with my father, and how he tears up at the thought of his precious Mam. And so the cycle continues.