Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Rosemary Heeley

My Nan passed away on 3rd December. She was a week away from turning 81.

I've used this blog to write about her before. It feels so strange now to do so again, but writing something as final as "she's gone".

I got a call off my Mum about a week before it happened, saying that the Care Home Doctors looking after Nan had spoken to her. They had said there wasn't much more they could do to help, and that it was now a question of making Nan comfortable.

I visited when I could, a few days later on. At the time I feared this may be one of the last conversations that I might ever have with my Nan; and secretly knew it would be. I sat with her, Mum and my sister Lauren for a while. When the others left, and it was just me and Nan, I became suddenly so aware of my own emotions, and my love for this woman.

Years ago when another Grandparent died, I visited them too and said an appalling goodbye to him - "Take care, see you soon." I regretted it straight away. That played on my mind whilst visiting Nan, a lot I think.

We talked a little; but mostly, I couldn't bare to look at her, because if I did, the emotion would have consumed me. I showed her a photo of my girlfriend, and she said she always thought I was funny, and well dressed - and spoke with pride that she loved me, and loved that I visited her a lot.

When it came to the actual goodbye, I hesitated at the door for a while, and then turned back and hugged Nan. Neither of us are huggers, so the moment meant a lot. I told her that I loved her, that she was beautiful, and that she needed to be brave for me.

Earlier, she had told me she wanted to go travelling, to find the room "where the children go." I'd read that when faced with death, people talk about travel a lot, as it disguises what the actual meaning is all about - the journey of death. It's said that these talks should be encouraged; so I let Nan known that it was OK, she could go wherever she wanted.

Later, when I was leaving Nan looked at me, smiling, and said "It's Ok, Anthony said I can go." As I turned and walked away from her, those words stung, but I understood she was ready.

***

When my Nan died, her two children were at her side. Mum got a call a few minutes before saying she was slipping away, and she needed to get to the care home ASAP. Mum got there, took Nan's hand, and said a "I love you". Nan died after that, at 1am.

***

For now, that's all I have to say.

***

From 2012, "A Sad Day Draws Closer" and below, a video I filmed of Nan, for my nephew Tyler:

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