My paternal Grandma was a lovely woman. She lived about 8 miles away from us. She was very quiet (obviously where my dad gets it from!), but very thoughtful. She was very practical (I like to think I get this from her), always baking, gardening, working, volunteer working, visiting friends. We used to the traditional thing of either Saturday or Sunday going over for tea, which was always delicious and usually served in the living room from a trolley. We'd watch the tv and feel very spoilt, in the summer we might play in the garden in an old cart which we would take it in turns to pull each other in.
My Grandpa died when I was approx 9 years old. It was around Easter and 3 of their four children were there with all the grandchildren. Grandfather had been mowing the lawn before we had arrived and felt a little unwell so went to bed before we got there. When tea-time came Grandma went to give him a cup of tea and see how he was. He was dead in bed, he'd had a heart attack and gone.
I remember all us children being herded into the dining room with some sweets, we knew something was wrong but not exactly what had happened. I don't remember who came in and told us but by the time an ambulance came and took him away I do remember the atmosphere being very heavy. That is all I remember of the day, strange isn't it?
None of the Grandchildren went to the funeral, I don't remember how much we saw of Grandma and how she coped. I do remember a lovely picture of him and a poem/prayer appearing on the fireplace. He was only 66 years old - just a few years old than my dad is now!!!!!
Other fond memories that I have of Grandma is having strip washes in her bathroom - seems a very strange thing to remember but I reckon it must be something to do with physical touch. I imagine possible due to the abuse that mum had, she never really touched me much or at least I do not have memories of it. I do remember Grandma rubbing the whole length of my arms and lengths with a soapy flannel, then a rinsed flannel, and then a scratchy towel - sounds awful when I write it down, but it never felt awful - it felt very loving!!
I always enjoyed staying over at her house, especially the times when my brother and sister were not there. Sometimes we would go to her church, she used to do the flowers ready for Sunday. Sometimes we would go and do some shopping, you could walk into Derby City Centre from her house (though we often got the bus back!). There were also the times when we would go to up to the local geriatric hospital to work as volunteers in the tea-bar - this was very much a favourite thing to do.
I could never have imagined just how important Grandma was in my life. I always kept in touch with her when I had left home, as soon as I had a car I loved going and helping her out. After a series of strokes, she eventually moved to a sheltered housing complex, the place was found for her by her vicar who she talked about alot. When I had moved back to my mum and dads she offered to help me out financially in return for helping her do her weekly shop. So everyweek I would go over, we'd either walk or go in the car down to the local shops and get everything sorted. Sometimes I might stay for a meal, always for a cup of tea! She would tell me what she had been up to in the week and often spoke about the things she was doing with church. I used to feel quite jealous of the person that used to come and give her a lift to church everyweek and so decided to start offering to take her myself!!