Every now and then I find myself thinking, “I wish my Gran could see this.” Or, “I wonder what Gran would make of this.” Eight years later, it’s a testament to her legacy that she is still very much present in my mind.
I was raised by my Mum and my Gran. Unfortunately my Grandfather passed early, when my Mum was just 18. My biological Father left my Mum towards the end of her pregnancy. It was just the three of us until I was 4 and my Mum met my now, ex-stepfather.
Two very strong, independent women.
Both with different opinions, experiences and methods for parenting. Yet they were committed by their love and desire, to provide me with the best possible opportunities.
Until she passed away, I spoke with my Gran at least once every day. I absolutely loved her with the same passion that I have for my son. She has had the most profound impact on my life. Affecting every mannerism, belief and ethos that is engrained within my personality. I am incredibly lucky to have had such a relationship.
She walked her dog 3 times a day everyday and when Sherry died, the Doctors say that that grief was sparked her cancer. She was given 6 months to live and we got 3. Which is more than some families get. She left an enormous hole in the lives of me, my Mother and my younger Brother. And if we were really honest with ourselves, I think a piece of us died with her on that fateful day.
Between the two of them, they raised me and we enjoyed holidays to Scotland every year and fabulous parties at our house with my whole class in attendance. Gran took care of me whilst Mum went back to work and fought to save enough money for her, our independence. No doubt they clashed, and being a single parent must be incredibly challenging, without a Mother to contend with!
I have really fond memories from my childhood, when it was just the three of us.
Things changed when he came into our lives, not necessarily for the better, but I preferred it when it was just the three of us. I think that is why I had such a strong bond with her because, she was essentially my other parent. Mum played bad cop and Gran played good cop, which was not fair on my Mum but that’s how it was.
My Gran rarely told me off. She rarely tried to discipline me and never said “I told you so.” She never judged me or was too busy for me, she was always there to listen, even though in her later years she didn’t really understand technology or the desires of a teenager or rebellious 20 something year old.
She gave me stability and made me feel special. Even when my brother came into this world, everyone knew that I was the favourite. We still joke about it now! I had my own bedroom at her house and would sleep over every Saturday (when my Mum and me moved out) from the age of 4 to 18.
We would eat pizza and she always had ‘good stuff’ to snack on in the cupboards. Sometimes she would give you a few pennies for sweets and she would always buy me little trinkets and strange things and I wore them, because they were from her.
I enjoyed long dogs walks with her, drives to museums and we loved to watch musicals and attend plays put on by local amateur dramatic societies around our area. We were best buddies. She was the love of my life and I can only hope that George can have something similar with his Grandparents but he won’t because he is fortunate to be growing up in a 2 parent family.
We would read together, play blackjack and board games. She helped me revise for my GCSEs and encouraged me to love the outdoors and wildlife. The amount of times my Mother has said, “you’re just like your Gran” secretly I high five myself.
The best bits of me are the best bits of her. Sensitive, thoughtful and kind. I pay great attention to the small stuff. Where possible, I try to put a smile on the faces of those people around me. I am now an English teacher, that was her job back in the day.
She loved to read and now I have a passion for reading. My Gran believed in me and because of that, I believe in myself. Every day she supported almost, everything I did and made me feel like my dreams were achievable.
It brings me sadness that she has never met my partner or George. I know she would have loved them both and been proud of the life I have created for myself. Happy about the people I have met and welcomed into my circle.
I am at peace because I know she would be proud, so therefore I must be doing something right.
Somewhere along the way, her influence has helped me make the right decision at crucial moments. Those decisions that affected the path I walk upon today. All paths lead to her. How grateful I am to have had such a positive role model in my life. Gone but never forgotten.
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