Friday, 3 June 2011


My Grandma died last night.  She lived in a care home where she had been since I took the decision with Social Services that she was unsafe at home almost 11 years ago.  The home rang my parents on Sunday morning and said she wasn't well and probably wouldn't get through it.  Mum and Dad went to visit her.  I didn't.  I don't like the care home and I don't like seeing her like that.  Dad phoned me yesterday to tell me they had heard that she was unlikely to make it through the night.  I decided then that I did want to see her and say goodbye.  She was laid in the bed, one eye slightly open, she was rasping trying to breathe.  I couldn't talk to her with mum and dad there.  Dad left but mum stayed.  I still couldn't talk.  Eventually I asked mum to leave too.  Then I talked to Grandma and told her I loved her and I cared about her and that I was pleased that soon she wouldn't be suffering any more.  And I cried.  I knew she wouldn't get better this time.  I kissed her clammy head and stroked her arm.  The body in the bed didn't look like Grandma.  Only when I saw her hands did I know for certain that it was her.  While I was talking to her I was convinced that her breathing was easier.  I said goodbye and left.  My parents came back in the room but I hadn't told them that I thought her breathing was less laboured because I thought it was just me getting used to it.  I went home but Dad rang me 20 minutes later and told me she had died.  He remarked that when they went in her breathing was much easier and then they suddenly realised that it had stopped.  He told me that she had been waiting for me.  I think its probably true.

Grandma and I had a special relationship.  Looking back now I don't think it was a healthy relationship.  My Grandad was admitted to hospital just before I was 10 for a routine heart operation.  He didn't ever recover.  The night of his operation it was agreed that I would spend the night with Grandma to give her some company as she wouldn't be able to go and visit him.  From that point on every weekend I used to stay one night and if I didn't I was made to feel so guilty.  This continued til I was 17.

I am grieving but I am grieving for lots of different things.  I am grieving because she is gone but she went a long time ago- she had dementia towards the end. 

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