For a week now I have cried every day on the way home in the car. It is my safe emotional place. I’ve fought tears at work and been carrying a lump in my throat most of the time trying to keep the emotions in check. If I keep busy things are better, but a moment of down time and my heart starts breaking. I usually call my grandparents at the end of my work day as I jump in the car and things have been getting a whole lot tougher in their household. I’ve never yet admitted this to myself because in my dream world I have imagined they would live forever, but they are in fact getting old. My grandfather is 94 and my grandmother will be 92 this summer.
They have been a HUGE part of my life my entire life. They didn’t miss a Christmas concert or a graduation, or an opportunity to come see their grandchildren for dinner or play. Having older grandparents than people my age by about 10 years was a benefit as they were retired almost my entire life – meaning lots of time for their grandbabies. I would stop in for tea almost every day during my commute to university, have lunch with them every time I was afforded a lunch hour I could fit them in, and I try to call them at least every other day. I bring my son as often as I can to see them as it is important for me to have him soak up as much of their awesomeness as he can. As I aged we grew even closer. Up until the end of last year they still took day trips or the odd overnight here and there. When they were away though, it would feel like something was missing from my day. This year has been a rough one for my Nanny. She has excruciating back pain due to degenerating discs and is feeling the effects of age and pain on the mind.
My Nanny got really sick for the first time in spring 2014. This was the start of me losing myself for a little bit – although most wouldn’t have really saw the emotions I kept hidden. Other things happened at that time to compound life, but this was a big blow to me. Since then she has got better intermittently, another downslide early 2015, but things have never quite been the same. I have dismissed the changes blindly, but now I feel like I am having to actually face reality, as she needs extra help to do things she didn’t need help with before, like getting out of bed. Her motivation to get up some days is lost, and the pain makes her mind tired and foggy. It is taking a toll on my grandfather providing this extra care physically, mentally and tugging at the heartstrings for his love of almost 80 years.
Having my son 8 years ago renewed their youth. They’ve got many great grandbabies, but they spend the most time with my son, because we make the most time available for them to spend with him. My 94 year old grandfather introduced him to wrestling and that is their thing they watch when we go for a Saturday evening visit. My Nanny has made strawberry jam with him every year, carrying on memories that I have had from my childhood. She baked him so many lovely apple pies as a tot that he cherished them as a favourite food. I could write pages and pages of memories and moments that have made me so proud to be their granddaughter. They are truly two people you meet and never forget. Kind to every stranger and loved one much the same. My grandfather talks to everyone and anyone – whether you are walking your dog down his street or in the grocery store.