This is the first of two pieces I'll blog in the coming days. The second being a letter I wrote to her when she was ill in hospital. She never read either of these pieces, and the latter was adapted and read at her funeral, which took place on the 8th January, 2013.
My Gran always had a twinkle in her eye, which she never lost, even at the very end. I think sometimes, when people we love become ill, and we watch them suffer, it can be very easy for our last memories of them to be exactly that. Memories of suffering and pain.
I don't want that for her. She was (and still is) so much more than the disease made her.
I was lucky enough to spend many hours with her. Time when it was just us, sitting at the kitchen table drinking tea, and putting the world to rights, before anyone else got out of bed.When I got older, we'd sit in the living room drinking vodka, late at night.
I loved going to stay with her, and I loved our chats. I won't pretend we always got on. There was the odd spat, but cups of tea usually solved all that.
She gave me lots of little snippets of advice, weaved in and out of the stories she told me. Stories of her life, and stories about my Mum, Uncles' and Aunt as children.
She probably thought I would forget all the advice and little things she told me, but I never have, and I hope I never will.
That's why I wanted to share some of that advice, here and now. She was wise, funny, mischievous, and very clever. Some of that advice has got me out of many potential 'situations'. Especially, the one about the knickers! I hope enjoy them as much as I have.
'Always brush your hair and wear clean underwear. You never know when you might get hit by a bus!'
'Never marry a politician. If they can lie to other people, they can lie to you'.
'Before you go to the loo, always make sure the lid is up!'
'Helen, you haven't had too much to drink until you can see four of your crutches!'
'Don't eat too much cheese, it gives you arthritis you know...'
'Never marry a man you can't be friends with.'
'You shouldn't drink vodka straight, it rots your insides!'
'You can never have too much tea!'
'Don't marry anybody who doesn't like animals'.
'If you've been to the loo, and you're wearing a skirt, always make sure it's untucked from your knickers!'
'Always be yourself, Helen. If someone doesn't like you, it's their problem - not yours!'
'I think things always turn out for the best in the end'.
Gran, with Hugo the puppy, my sister Ali, and I.
Gran, Ali, and I
Gran and baby me.
I love you Gran, and miss you every day xx