The Gran you couldn't help but love, the one who was always smiling and happy to get out the crayons and colouring books. The one who showered her Grandchildren with as much affection as she could.
My Gran is the one who taught me to be compassionate, to give to charity, to savour memories. Filling her cabinet with the token gifts we gave her from school fairs giving them as much pride of places as the expensive ornaments in her china cabinet, the creative one teaching me to cross stitch and always with a handmade card to present to us on our birthdays.
My Gran was the one who through my childhood would encourage a love for collecting, her infectious love for all things quirky and her hoarding nature mirrored my own, she was the one who was always buying me badges and telling me stories when she sorted out nik naks to give me, much to my own mothers disapproval when I followed in her footsteps and wanted to keep everything from bottle tops to paper wrappers, contradicting my mums minimalist personality.
My Gran was the one who would encourage me to place my small change in collectors pots outside of supermarkets and sponsor Tigers, I would never get to see, as birthday gifts, while my mother flustered and complained when I skipped upto the buskers to give up my pocket money so freely.
My Gran was the one who would secretly laugh as she filled our jacket potatoes with red sauce and draped over cheese slices as a snack, making huge trifle's and encouraging us to always clear our plates before she filled our beakers with juice.
My Gran, so full of life, so happy and smiley.
That picture was taken 5 years ago. My Gran and my Son.
Oh how life changes, how time can be so cruel.
The past couple of years have brought heartache and loss to my Grans life, and now she is no longer the smiley happy lady we used to know, her health hinders her ability to do the things she once enjoyed and her sparkle is fading. Her physical health is a hinder, but her mental health is a bigger barrier.
It is heart wrenching to see her struggle with her thoughts as she tries to grasp the reality of the moment, it pains me to see family ague over her care needs and it is unsettling to know the future is not going to hold the same sort of moments that so strongly base my memories.
Old age creeps up quickly and dementia is a hard illness to come to terms with, not only for the person suffering but for the whole family involved. The difference in the past year is obvious, but the amount of love and respect I hold for my gran will never change.