My Nan – my Dad’s Mum – has just died, about 90 minutes ago, peacefully in her sleep after a short illness.
I don’t want to write much here as I’m quite upset. To me she was always the archetypal ideal of a grandparent – I loved my other grandparents, but I saw a great deal of my Nan when I was growing up and hence felt closer to her.
Nan’s husband – my Gramp, my Dad’s Dad – died when I was about Millie’s age, and I only have vague memories of him (her other grandchildren had no memories of him at all, so I feel lucky in that respect to have any). After he was gone my Nan never remarried, never seemed to want to, and the house always seemed to be busy when we went round. Various family members (indeed, even whole families!) lived with her at one time or another, and I remember many many happy Saturday afternoons spent round there with my brothers, Nan looking after the three of us while our parents went and played their football and their netball.
There would be cups of tea that tasted better than anyone else made; we would explore her house, finding all manner of treasure hidden in the cupboards and drawers; she would show us her false teeth, which astonished us anew each time we saw them; we were allowed, at an insanely young age, to have bonfires in her back garden, burning all of the rubbish she’d accumulated that week; we’d explore down the railway lines at the bottom of her garden, finding no end of
junk wonders there; and she bought us all a packet of sweets every single week without fail, despite struggling on a rather meagre pension – even buying me expensive diabetic chocolate after I was diagnosed with diabetes.
Our times with her were, in my memory, like an Enid Blyton story, sunny and magical, with a tiny exciting edge of danger to them.
She became ill with pneumonia earlier in the week and died peacefully in her sleep about an hour ago.
And I miss her already.