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Writing a tribute to my Grandmother is, at the moment, very appropriate. She died last month, and that has helped our family think about what she meant to us and all the adventures she had over the course of her long life. She suffered from Dementia in her later years, and indeed at times I think I can hardly remember before the Dementia, but even while ill, she had an enormous amount to give.


It was a mark of her personality that she rarely showed frustration or anger, even when she began to lose her ability to do things. Sometimes, little flashes of annoyance showed through, but her sweet nature meant she kept them in check, even when her disability presented her with challenges and griefs.


She had an extraordinary life, dealing with the loss of her husband very early. I had always known that she was a popular woman, with a very open heart and a very open home, but until her funeral, I had never realised just what an impact this had had. From people who hadn’t been in contact for upwards of twenty years, to people who only met her in the last years of her life – so many came to the funeral that our home was bursting at the seams afterwards.


When people talked about her, they talked about her fairness and her lack of prejudice, her belief in equality which extended to all walks of life. She had her opinions – some pretty strong ones, particularly regarding fashion and smoking – and she was painfully blunt if she thought you were being silly, but she was so warm and sincere that she rarely, if ever, gave offence to anyone, even if she was ranting about their nose piercing.


To me, she meant Christmas and hot drinks. I remember staying with her as a child, and how she would come down in her cosy dressing gown to make us thick hot chocolates, with all the powder gooey and sweet at the bottom. I remember getting to her house after a long journey, late at night, half-asleep, and being served bowls of hot vegetable soup, the oil glistening gold on the surface. I remember the Christmas lights, sparkling like magic in the dark windows.


Of all the parts of her Dementia, of all the tears and hard work and frustrations and silly, giggling moments, I remember her look, half-cheeky, peeking up at you as she tried to understand the world. I remember how her eyes would fix on you, though she was half-blind, and make a brief moment of contact even when her speech was leaving her.


I remember reading aloud to her, in one of the last activities she could truly love, and how intently she listened, her excitement and joy at having your attention solely on her, even when the words being read meant little. I remember sitting with her as she slipped away, and trying to think of a future without her. When I think of her eyes now, of her hopeful gaze, it makes me miss her so much, and miss the open-hearted warmth with which she stood strong against the many challenges in her life. She reflected and meant family, she bound us together, and she was incredible.



Shycryst Gut
6 years ago
So sorry for your loss Granmas are so special I just loss my granma last week so heartbreaking and I’m reading your tribute they were very much alike lots of people were in my granma funeral aswell they were and still are loved

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