My grandma, who died recently, developed Dementia several years ago, and consequently her mental health declined very quickly, so the last two years of her life were spent in a care home. If anyone has ever experienced this situation, they will know what a cruel condition Dementia is.
Grandma was a highly experienced Primary, Secondary, and, ultimately, a Special Needs teacher who was always extremely pro-active in her community over the years, and who enjoyed organising numerous walking holidays for children in the Yorkshire Dales. She was such a big influence with her pupils that many of them kept in touch with her over the years, and some even attended her funeral at Our Lady of Lourdes church in Haworth. Some of my own learning and education, along with creativity was taught to me by my Grandma as a child, and, to see someone go from that kind of mentality to the shadow she became, was heart-breaking for me and everyone else who knew her.
Chaos in the home
My mum would regularly turn up at the care-home to find Grandma in somebody else’s jumper, or using someone else’s glasses, and, towards the end, even finding her in other people’s bedrooms having a nap on their bed! The other residents didn’t seem to mind though…. probably as some of them did the same!
Forgetting your face after a lifetime together
She didn’t recognise me for the first time a few months ago. I’d had to say goodbye to her last year, as, in my heart, I knew she was gone mentally. Eventually, she kept having accidents and ending up in A&E, sometimes having to wait many hours to be seen by a doctor. Just before she died, she had another stroke, but thankfully was not sent to A&E again. A few hours later, she slipped away in the surroundings she knew and loved, with the wonderful staff around her, and all her lovely poems and pictures from her life’s journey all over her walls.
Mirror of her life
Her funeral was a happy and beautiful celebration of her 91 years, with a congregation of 90 people who had known her at different stages of her life. My uncle and I both did eulogies and a few other close family members and friends read some poems. It’s a funny thing, but so many memories that I’d forgotten about have flooded back since her death - so so many memories. One of grandma’s favourite sayings was “We can only do the best we can with what we’ve got” - a line I have used in my single, “No More Tears”. She always used to say to me when I was going through a bad time or something didn’t work out when I was younger “Things happen for a reason Sarah” - another line I also used, in the song “Flying”.
I feel that Grandma is around. Little synchronicities keep happening and we all feel that she is definitely keeping an eye on us! It brings us peace knowing she is not existing in a shell of a body any more being kept alive by drugs and just existing, but that she is finally at peace.