I remember vividly visiting my Grandma (or, as we would call her, ‘Nanny’) most days after school and, as I sat in front of her TV in the small snug living room, she would pull up her Ottoman pouffe and place a tray on top with a plate presenting beans on toast: two pieces white bread and heaps of baked beans with a generous knob of butter on top. I would sit for a few hours watching general, rubbish television, with her pet bird and chihuahua Beau, and scoff the meal, dropping half of it down my school jumper.
Nanny kept a box of toys upstairs that she would bring down and it was as if I’d seen a magic show. I would get so excited over a gloomy yellow piece of plastic that had big chunks of orange and brown inside it: it was plastic sick. We would hide it around the living and dining room and wait for the other to find it; she would even bring it over to my house on Christmas just to hide it. My Mum hid it in my bed once. I miss that peculiar ‘toy’.
It was the 16th of February 2011 and I cannot begin to describe the feelings I felt when my mother told me that my grandma had passed away in the hospital bed after fighting oesophageal cancer.
I wish I visited her more often when I had the chance. A few weeks before she passed, my mum asked me if I wanted to go with her to see her and being the naive 11 year old I was, I thought that there were much more important things in life to do. There were not. There definitely were not. Multiple times a week I listen to friends complaining about how they have to see and spend time with their grandparents. I would do anything to go back and spend as much time as possible with my grandma. I don’t believe in God but I truly hope there is a heaven and she’s happily reunited with her dog, Beau, and I really believe and have faith that she is looking down on me and is proud of the hopeful mess I am becoming as she watches me grow into an adult.
Those who still have their grandparents with them, whether it’s all of them or only one, please listen intently to what stories they tell you, process and live by the wise and experienced advice they give you, and please spend as much time as you possibly can with them. Don’t ever complain about having to see them because, when they are gone, trust me you will beat yourself up for the rest of your lives, as the saying goes. You don’t know the extent of how special and valuable something is to you until it’s gone.