Tuesday, 16 December 2014

My little Granny

Great Granny Amy (aged 95)

My Granny died on a snowy December day. She was called Amy. At the grand age of ninety nine (almost one hundred) her body had finally got too weary to carry on.

I saw her the week before, she was still of very sound mind and had moved into a nursing home after living independently at home until just a few weeks ago.

We chatted about memories of when I was little. We both remembered me sleeping on a camp bed in her bedroom, we used to chatter until very late, she would fall asleep, it was always her first, often playing a guessing game called 'Animal, Mineral or Vegetable'.

My bed was next to her wonderful foot powered sewing machine. It was not on display, but instead it hung, defying gravity upside down on the underside of its stand. Whenever I saw it appear for use I always thought it was like a magicians trick. Lying in my low bed next to it I could see it in all its highly decorative gilded beauty, it was like someone covered with amazing tattoos or one of those old waltza carriages, my arm would reach out of the covers and spin its handle slowly and quietly while Granny slept beside me.

Her hands had worked hard making clothes, she was a seamstress by trade. I can remember pretty dresses she made me with vintage lace collars, when the dress got to small the collar would come off and go onto the next, and so on.

Now her skinny hands were dry from the heating in the home, I gently rubbed them with her cream, her skin was paper thin and I could see each vein through it. My fingers fit in between her knuckles like deep trenches and her wedding ring, so thin from almost eighty years of wear, spun precariously on her tiny finger. It was touch that wasn't getting dressed, that wasn't being bathed, that wasn't being moved. I couldn't remember the last time I had held her hand, probably thirty years ago as a child, this time it wasn't to keep me but to keep her.

I combed her hair, she said it felt nice.

She was sat in a high back chair, making it almost impossible to cuddle her, which was all I wanted to do. I stooped down over the contraptions, the table laden with sippy cups, medications and an emergency alarm and wrapped my arms around her, she felt so tiny and frail. I stroked her back through her dressing gown "my little Granny" I whispered in her ear, she laughed and said "I know, I've been shrinking for some time". I told her I loved her, again I don't know when I last said that to her, and that she loved me.

As I left I looked back and whilst I hoped to see her again I knew in my heart that was the last time.


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