Today will be a sad day, I’m heading back to my home town to say goodbye to a very special lady. Someone who I wasn’t actually related to but felt like family all the same. I grew up living with my Mum, Nanna and Grandad until my Nanna passed away when I was 11 years old. In the house next to ours was a husband and wife who we came to know very well over the years. Some time after my Nanna passed away, my Grandad moved away and my Mum and I moved into a small house around the corner from our old house and one night a week we would visit Mr and Mrs C to have a coffee, catch up and for my Grandad to phone us for a chat as we didn’t have a home phone of our own.
A few years later, Mr & Mrs C purchased a derelict building opposite our new house, knocked it down and built two new houses on the land. They lived in one and sold the other. It was lovely to have them so close again. One day over 20 years ago, whilst Mrs C was out in the garden hanging out her washing, their cat Pinky went out to find her and she knew straight away why Pinky was there. She went back into the kitchen to find that her Husband and best friend had passed away in his chair. Mrs C was a spritely lady who had a keen head for business and was a good friend to those around her, even into her seventies she would still climb the ladders to clean her windows and tend to her property. She was always busy doing something.
Mum and I spent a lot of time with Mrs C over the years, she became like a surrogate Grandma to us and even after we both moved away, we would still return home regularly to see her or to take her out shopping, something she loved. She especially loved her cakes and sweets, and I swear she must have owned more bottles of shampoo than any person could ever use in a lifetime!!!
When I settled in Peterborough and started my family, I wasn’t able to visit so frequently, Mrs C’s old age and hearing problems made it difficult to visit with children as she found them stupefying and so in the latter years my Mum would mainly visit alone, though I did pop across when I could and she came to stay with my Mum for Christmas one year which turned into a slightly stressful experience for all of us so it sadly wasn’t repeated.
During the most recent years she has been in and out of hospital due to ill health and many times we prepared ourselves to say goodbye but she was made of tough stuff and just when we thought her time was over, she would rally around and return home.
In March/April this year she was taken into hospital again, although we didn’t find out until she had been there for a few weeks. She had a number of medical conditions which made her very poorly and in lots of pain. She hated to be a burden on anyone and became very frustrated during her time in hospital. She found communication with the nursing staff very difficult and on a number of occasions she was found in a state we were not happy with. She didn’t have a very pleasant last few weeks of life but I’m thankful that I got to see her again to say goodbye, and that she was able to tell Mum time and time again that she was the best friend she had ever had. She is now at peace and reunited with her beloved Husband.
Today, my Mum and I will be going to say our final goodbye. It will be a sad day but also one where we will remember a truly special lady, a lady who loved to laugh and had a wicked sense of humour, a lady who didn’t suffer fools gladly and rarely minced her words. I will remember the way her hands would shake and make me nervous when she was pouring a hot kettle, I will remember how she was always combing her hair (and cutting it herself), how she would always ‘pop her lippy on’ before leaving the house, I will remember the number of times she would reheat her cup of tea because it had gone cold yet again and the cakes, biscuits and treats she would buy when she knew we were visiting. I will remember the way she always had a bag of sweets on the go, usually toffees or mints. I will remember her wise words and endless advice, today I will remember a very special lady but I will also be happy that she is no longer in pain. Love you lots Mrs C xxxx