I only knew my Grandmothers, as both grandfathers had passed away before I was born. Sadly, dementia stole any opportunity for a strong relationship with my Dad’s Mum, but my relationship with Mum’s Mum, Gran, could not have been more wonderful.
The love and strong bond that my brother and I shared with her has given me strength in life that still nurtures me 40 years after she died. I am lucky to live in the same area that she and my Grandad settled in as a newly weds, aged 21, in 1925. The area is full of vivid memories of happy times spent her. Particularly at Forge Dam and Endcliffe Park. Summer days whiling away the hours on the stepping stones, breaking for one of those old-style blocks of creamy dairy ice-cream, sandwiched between two thin wafers.
A big part of my role as my Mum’s carer has, for the last 7 years, been facilitating the opportunity for her and my nephew, her only grandchild, to build their own special bond. Mobility and other factors mean that, at 80, she cannot be as active and involved in the care of him as her Mum was with us.
The joy and happiness she gets from his visits is immeasurable. Until the last month or so, he has rarely had the confidence to stay anywhere without his Mum and Dad. So, this weekend was particularly special. He embraced the opportunity to spend the weekend with his Aunt and Gran.
Certain things connect me very strongly to Gran. Some of these are still in use and some are traditions that I deliberately repeat for my nephew, such as the multi-pack of mini cereals that were a feature of every visit.
One of the things that gives me the greatest pleasure is to use kitchen items and baking utensils of hers. I especially remember her wonderful apple pies, baked as she knew they were my Brother’s favourite. She was a very good cook and, try as I might, I can never make a stew that tastes quite as good as the ones she used to make.
So, this weekend, my nephew and I baked a three tier chocolate cake, using his Great Gran’s sieve to sift the flour. This one item must be at least 50 years old. Just holding and using an item that you know your loved one has held so often is a powerful way to stir emotions and memories.
I am certain that I would have been a different person had it not been for my 8 years of knowing and loving Gran. I am so grateful for everything she gave me.
Here are some lovely cards and gifts perfect for your Gran…