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Tombstone

My Grannie was a bohemian before the title existed.

She worked in a knitwear factory but in her spare time she was an artist. Her specialty was painting birds. She painted the most detailed birds by  eye on fine china plates. She even won awards and accepted them gracefully. She wasn’t one for airs and graces and didn’t hang out with the ‘hip set.’ She was too busy raising my 4 uncles & my Mum. My Grandfather worked at the local coal mine. (So did most men back then in Ayrshire in Scotland).

She was raised by her blind Grandmother. I don’t know the details surrounding this.

As my younger brother and I grew older we would take week about staying at my Grandparents house. When it was my turn, my brother would cry his eyes out. When it was his turn, I just accepted it, Different personalities I guess.

My Grannie thought nothing of me turning chairs upside down in the living room, draping them with sheets and pretending I was in a tent or a rocket or a submarine.. She always slept in her chair & would let me stay up until well after midnight watching ‘Hammer Horror Films.’ During the day she would let my friends play football (soccer) in her frront garden.

As I grew older we would have great conversations. She was always open to the opinions of others, would gladly change her opinion if she felt it was warranted but also had very strong opinions of  her own. Up until I was in my early 20s I would drive 90  minutes just to  talk to her. She even got to meet my future wife.

As she grew older I could tell that her health was deteriorating. She  was constantly downing painkillers for headaches but she had been doing that for  as long as I could remember. I put it down to the meticulous painting that she did. It was this painting that indicated to me her health was on the decline. I was a Registered Nurse by now so I noticed different things in people. Her lines were slightly shaky and her tones were more obvious. Her paintings were more bold and less subtle.

One day my ex wife & I received a phone call. Grannie had fallen in the bathroom. She had suffered a stroke. We went to see her. I knew she had suffered a brain stem stroke from  her behaviour. I knew she wasn’t  going to survive long. I left her room. My upset but optimistic family asked me what I thought. I burst into tears & shook my head. They now had an indication that things weren’t good.

My ex wife & I returned home. There was nothing we could do but wait. One morning at 6 the phone rang. My ex wife wasn’t long on the line. She returned to the bedroom & simply said, “She’s gone.”

My Grannie died at 4am on her birthday. My only regret is that she never got to  meet my children. She was very fond of children and I’m sure my children would have been fond of her as they are with their own Grandparents.

I was lucky to have her for 26 years.

 

 

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