So its the 17th March 2018 and yesterday was my Grandmas funeral. She passed away on 27th February and as always I there by her side. I sat with her as she took her final breath and I had been there for two days. As hard as I try and cannot put in to words how I feel right now. She has been such a huge part of my life for so long its hard to believe that she is not here any more. For the past 18 days I have been speaking to relevant people telling them of her passing away but at the same time I have found myself planning to go and see her as normal and even picking up chocolate éclairs with my shopping. Its a very weird feeling. To say that I will miss her is an understatement. This is a woman that I have known for 41 years. She has been like a mam to me. Don’t get me wrong it hasn’t all been a barrel of laughs but the bond we shared was unbreakable. At the same time as feeling sad I also feel a huge sense of relief. For anyone who has cared for an elderly relative with complex medical needs including dementia it is horrendous. I have slowly watched Grandma go from a strong independent woman to someone who was bed bound, practically blind, deaf and didn’t know who I was. I knew the end was near when I was called to the hospital and put in the relatives room – this is never a good sign. The registrar explained that she had pneumonia and the chances are that she wouldn’t recover from it. I had to make some tough decisions with reference to her treatment but in the end I decided to stop everything and to just let her slip away. No more injections, no more poking and no more prodding. It was all very peaceful, she never regained consciousness, it was just like she was asleep. The staff made me a bed on the floor next to her and for two days I sat and talked to her, I kept going on Costa coffees and tabs, cross word puzzles and my phone. My Aunty Carol came and spent time with us as did my Uncle Joe, Andrew and my sister.
After she was gone came the job of arranging her funeral. It is heart wrenching. I have never had to arrange a funeral before never mind for someone as close to me as my grandma was. I think the worse thing was choosing her songs. I had to choose 3 songs – sounds easy enough – it was awful. I sat with my headphones in one night and went through maybe a hundred songs. Its so hard, I cried and cried. In the end I choose, Queen – you’re my best friend, John Lennon – Imagine and Bette Midler – The Rose. Grandma wasn’t very religious in her later years so I went for a humanist service. Definitely the best choice. The service was all about her (and maybe a little about me). The humanist talked about all of the grandchildren and shared memories that I had mentioned to him.
One of the memories was building fires on the beach and cooking sausages and beans in a frying pan – happy days!
Other memories included being allowed to lick the raw cake mixture out of the bowl when she was making cakes, sleeping in bunk beds with the cousins, caravanning, walks in the woods, car boot sales and Gretna Market – most Sunday mornings.
Don’t get me wrong my Grandma at times was a proper pain in the arse – but at the end of the day she was my pain in the arse and I will miss her. She may have had her faults (who doesn’t) but she was devoted to her Grandchildren, we were really lucky to have our Grandparents and the experiences they gave us. She was an incredibly strong woman and I would like to think that the woman I am today in because of her.
RIP Grandma xx