Grandma. | Emily Bashforth

Grandma.

Introductions to blog posts are usually easy. I don't have to think about them because the words pretty much type themselves...but I don't know how to start this one.
All of us have people in our lives who we are close to, at least I hope you do, and chances are, at some point, those people will be taken away from us. That's what happened to me. And my family. We lost somebody. Whether people post about their loss online is their decision but this blog post is something I wanted to write for a couple of reasons. The first one being that I enjoy writing and feel its a good way for me to express my feelings and thoughts, especially during times of hardship, secondly because the person I lost will always hold a dear place in my heart and, although no amount of blog posts could ever do her beautiful nature justice, I just wanted so say something so anyone who happens to read this will get a small insight into how incredible she was.

Let us keep this positive, because my lost loved one was the epitome of love and light, she was joy personified, and although I am broken at the fact that she is physically no longer here, I want her to be remembered in the most positive, happy, beautiful way possible. She was never someone who wanted others to feel down.

Meet Hilda, my Great Grandma, who is pictured throughout this blog post. She lived to the grand old age of ninety six, yep the big 9. 6. Pretty impressive, right? They were ninety six good years too, which is something I found comfort in when I learnt of her passing. She was never one to have health problems, she wasn't in and out of hospital, she had a lot of people who cared, and still care, about her, and it makes me feel at ease to know she didn't struggle or suffer during the final stages of her life. She was a lady who was out of  this world, and somebody, somewhere decided that she had simply become to brilliant for this world and so they took her to her own.


I will always remember my Grandma as being a beautiful human being. She was physically beautiful as she was always dressed smartly in sophisticated clothing and had a smile that could cure, but she also had a shining personality. She never spoke negatively about anyone - there wasn't a bad bone in her body - and was always kind and caring towards everyone she met. Even in the final stages of her life when she was unable to be as independent as she would like, she was never aggressive towards those who took care of her and understood that people simply wanted to help. My Grandma really was a truly wonderful person, so compassionate, generous and benevolent and she always worried about everyone else whilst everyone else was worried about her. I remember taking her a birthday card once and she tried to give me the money for it! She always wanted to give people money for the petrol they used when they drove to see her or wanted to pay them the 60 pence that they spent buying her a newspaper. She was honestly one of a kind.


One of my favourite personality traits of my Grandma was the fact that she took such great interest in the lives of other people. This is something which was spoken about at her funeral and I could not have agreed more. Every time I visited her she asked constant questions about me, what I'd been up to, my schooling, my family, she always wanted to know how other people were and wanted to listen to what they had to say. Granted, she may have forgotten what you'd told her after ten minutes and would probably ask you the same questions three times over, but she was still always so concerned with everyone else's well being and, despite the fact that she wasn't able to go out and be active like she used to, she still wanted to be involved in everyone else's adventures.
Speaking of being active and independence, that is something I always loved about my Grandma, she was so independent. I don't know of many people who are still living in their own homes, alone, at the age of ninety five! She was only taken into full-time care for her final few months, which I find remarkable. She was always so insistent on living alone and being independent. She would sit at home in her bungalow and watch TV, make lunch and just have a jolly good time all by herself. and I think I probably take after her in that sense as I do love to spend time away from everyone else. She was determined to live independently for as long as possible, which I really admire. In the end, she did have to be taken into a home, but she was such a strong lady who didn't want handouts or help from anyone, She did things by herself. I will always admire her willpower and determination.


When my Grandma was taken into a home, she wasn't just shoved into anywhere because my family thought, "Oh that'll do." She was taken in by a lovely residential home and was well looked after each day by the staff there, who were always patient, understanding and kind. I found comfort in the fact that I knew she was being taken care of by a group of people who were so fantastic at their job and that she lived in a peaceful place with a warm and welcoming atmosphere. I also always really enjoyed visiting her in there, not just to see my Grandma, but because I got to chat with the other residents who never failed to touch me and make me laugh with their stories. I felt like I could have spent hours and hours in there just listening to what they had to say. I don't think many of the other ladies who lived in the home actually got many visitors which was why they were so eager to chat whenever anyone else came in, which is a shame, but I did always love engaging in conversations with them. If you ever get chance to chat properly to elderly people, please do, as you'll learn a lot and it could easily make their day. I'm extremely thankful for those who cared for my Grandma, both in her home and in the residential home, as none of them treated her as 'just another job,' they formed relationships with her and always ensured she had everything she needed. My Grandparents also dedicated most of their time to her - their lives pretty much revolved around visiting her - and I don't think they know just how much of a brilliant job they did. I know my Grandma wouldn't have been the same person without their love.


However, when my Grandma was taken into care, she didn't lose her charm or sense of humour. She also didn't lose her ability to keep you talking for an eternity whilst she told you stories. Some days she wasn't so chatty but others she would surprise you. Sometimes she just wanted to be silent whilst others she was this fountain of knowledge and talked forever about the war and holidays she had been on. Those are times I will always treasure, talking to my Grandma.
I will also always remember the funny memories she gave me. Like when she fell over and so had to go into hospital and she said it was because she'd been dancing too many rumbas and drank two bottles of wine instead of one. Or when we took her a Galaxy chocolate bar and she asked if we bought it from the moon. Or when she would try and give us the wrapping paper we used for her birthday presents so we could use it again. Or when she was given food in the hospital and she would pull funny faces at how rank it looked. I know a lot of people have funny memories with my Grandma, because that is the kind of person she was, always wanting to put light into the life of others by being a bright, shining light herself. Her laugh was one of my favourites too. It was infectious and your heart couldn't help but burst whenever your heard it.


I'm going to miss my Grandma. So much. It already seems strange not having to plan my next visit to see her. I will miss physically feeling the room light up when she smiles, I will miss the happy feeling inside my tummy when I listen to her talk, I will miss how on top of the world I feel when I get home after visiting her, I will miss knowing there is someone out there who loves shortbread as much as me, I will miss how high her mood used to be after she'd had her hair done, I will miss holding her hand and giving her a kiss when I say goodbye to her and I will miss how she would be so genuinely grateful when I went to visit her because she was amazed that people still cared enough to take time out of their day to check up on her - "Thank you for coming, you're a lovely girl..."
I feel like we all know somebody who we truly believe is one in a million, someone who we cannot believe even exists because they just put so much magic into the world,  for me, that is my Grandma. Losing her is one of the most painful things I have ever experienced, but she will always be very much alive in my memory, my heart and through my words, as she wonderful personality and kind heart have helped shape me into the person I am today. I feel privileged to have even known somebody as graceful as my Grandma and I'm thankful for the ninety six years she spent on this planet, injecting love and life into every inch of everything and everyone. I'm thankful for all of the happy memories that she have me and for all that she did.

To you reading this, spend time with those who are special to you. And if they are elderly, they are still just as much of a person as you. Do not just brush them to one side and view them as an inconvenience. When we reach a certain age and we just aren't as mobile, we do rely on others to bring us entertainment and to take care of us so don't just shut your grandparents and great grandparents out as you would hate to be seen as a burden if it was the other way around. I have the best relationships with all of my Grandparents and I see them often, which not only makes me happy but it makes them happy too. I cannot stress the importance of really cherishing the lives of those around you. Its not nice to think of, but you never know what is around the corner. So, take time to listen to their stories, get them gifts, take them out for the day, do little things together which you can't do with anyone else, share jokes, talk about happy memories, then you can look back fondly on your time together when you, sadly, have no time left. If you take one thing from this blog post, let it be that your presence in the life of a family member means an awful lot so spend time with them. Its easy to get distracted by technology these days and to want to hibernate in your bedroom for eternity, which is fine, you can still do that, but, as cliche as it is, life is short. People aren't here forever.

To my Grandma, goodbye, or rather, farewell, so long for now, as I will always feel your presence and you will always make up the person that I am. I thank you for making me a better person and for all the smiles that you have given me. You may have been a little lady, but you had a big heart and you made the world a better place. I pray that you are resting peacefully. Every time the sun shines in the sky, I shall know that it is your light, beaming brightly. The pain I feel as a result of your loss will one day ease and will only be replaced with happy memories and the pride I feel at how much of a beautiful person you were and always will be. You no longer are physically with us, but I shall always feel you around me and elements of you will exist in everything that I go on to do. I hope that I make you proud, I really do, and that you will perhaps think of me sometimes in the way that I shall think of you.
Until we meet again, Grandma, take care. I look forward to hearing all about your Heavenly adventures. I love you so much that it hurts my heart. God bless

I shall leave you with a song, which you may or may not know is my favourite song of all time. 'Drops of Jupiter' by Train, a band I could listen to on repeat for the rest of my life. I have always adored this song, lyrically, however, I feel like it is especially pertinent right now. Pat Monahan, the lead singer, wrote the track after his Mother's passing and to express the idea that even though her life on earth is over, she has returned to him in spirit. If you have never heard of it, I would love for you to listen to it and, hopefully, fall in love with it the way I did.



Love, Emily. Xx

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