My Nan passed away this weekend. It has been some time coming and she lingered over it in the past week, but she is resting now.
My Nan and I have not always had the best relationship, there were a few years in the middle of my life when I actively avoided her. Prior to that I loved her wholeheartedly. After that I loved her wholeheartedly. I'd say that's a good balance over a lifetime.
I have such strong memories of my Nan, my Dad's mum. Of her singing Eartha Kitt's "These Boots were Made for walking" as we lay in bed one morning. Of going with her to the fancy stores at Christmas to buy a new outfit. Waiting outside a pub with her and Grandad to go and see Campbell's Country play. I remember trying to push her up a hill in her wheelchair when we were on holiday in Southhampton. It didn't work and two nice men with pints helped me. I remember being so proud that she owned her own business, I didn't know anyone who did that, and I loved walking into the place, I was "Barbara's Granddaughter" and that carried a lot of Cache.
When I left college and was unsure of what to do, she got me a job, at a Casino. I loved the few months I spent there. And again, being Barbara's Granddaughter carried a lot of weight.
I was her only grandchild and was keenly aware of it. I would fiercely defend her, and fiercely love her. No one messed with my Nan! I guess there was some weight to being Sarah's Nan too.
She wanted a Great Granddaughter and I kept giving her boys, who she loved to pieces. She looked after all of us. Paying for flights so that we could come and visit. Paying for groceries when she knew we were running low. By the time I was pregnant with my first child in 2009, she had knitted two suitcases full of baby clothes in a rainbow of colors. I still have enough to get both boys through Kindergarten. Every time I knit I think of my Nan, what she taught me, and couldn't teach me.
We went to visit her in November, a last minute trip because she was adamant that she wouldn't make it to our big trip in August 2013. I'm so glad we got to go. She was able to see my youngest for a second time. Cuddle him from her hospital bed. She was able to see the spitfire that is Toby as he ran to and from her bed, between the bribe we offered and the board games in the waiting area. She never got her great granddaughter, but she knitted many things for my friends who had girls.
I will miss my Nan. There are so many things I do that make me think of her. I'm glad I have so many wonderful memories that I can carry with me.
The Marigolds in her garden. The Emerald earrings she bought me, clip on, so I could be fancy at a cousin's wedding. Running around her fancy dress shop in just a slip and loving it. Cuddling with her on nights Grandad was working on the railway and I stayed with just her. Watching her put clothes through the mangler in the kitchen.
Barbara Ann Bennett - you lit up my world.