>Letter to my nan

>Inspired by Hayley at Single Motherhood Challenges I decided to have a go at the Blogging Carnival thing (my first time!) and write a letter to my nan, here goes:

Dear Nan

My name is Kathryn and I’m your grandaughter. It may seem a strange way to open a letter but you have alzheimers and sometimes you need a reminder of who I am.

I haven’t seen you for at least 2 years. You live on your own in Essex and although not far away, it’s almost impossible to see you. You can’t hear the phone or the doorbell and because you don’t know who I am I can’t just borrow a key from my dad and pop in incase I frighten you.

Dad used to bring you to see me on Boxing Day each year, but this stopped two years ago. Apparently you make his wife feel uncomfortable! You never did forgive her for breaking up my parents marriage and I know you have fond memories of my mum, but you really shouldn’t refer to his wife as a whore – at least not to her face anyway Nan!

The last time I saw you, you didn’t recognise me at first but then there was a flicker of recognition in your eyes and I knew that you did remember me. We sat and looked through old photo albums of you as a girl, your mum and dad and of course grandad. It was a lovely day and one I hope to repeat, which is why whenever I write to you I always enclose photos of myself, my sister and our children and write our names on the back so you will know who we are and hopefully remember our connection to you.

It wasn’t always this way, you were always so independant, strong and so quick witted. You looked after your own mum until she died, well into her 90’s, about 15 years ago and that was after looking after grandad who died a year or two before. You’ve been alone since your mum, or little nan as we used to call her, died all those years ago, yet you still looked after my sister and I every school holiday even if we were unruly teenagers by then.

I have so many fond memories of being with you, especially in the summer holidays when our mum used to leave us at yours for most of the summer. Playing with our hamster in the garden that we simply couldn’t leave at home, allowing us to play outside with all the local kids until 8pm (far later than mum ever used to let us), making blamange or the smell of one of your roast dinners cooking and the taste of that unbelievable gravy of yours made with beef dripping! Even more recently when you visited me at home after having E, you were every inch the proud great grandmother.

But then a light just kind of went off. I first noticed it when you started calling me by my mums name, but just assumed it was a slip of the tongue, then you stopped being as immaculately dressed as you always were and started telling me about conversations you’d had with your uncle that day – who’d died at least 50 or more years before. I always knew something wasn’t quite right but no one except my mum took any notice of me, it wasn’t until you ended up in hospital severly dehydrated that you got the care you needed. You now still live alone but go to a club every day for older people and really enjoy it, you have a carer and meals on wheels too, plus everything else that you could possibly need. I wish that my dad would visit you more often or take me to see you because I really do need to see for myself that you’re ok.

I know that I won’t receive a reply to this letter, you’ll put it to one side meaning to reply but then forget who I am, but I will keep writing to let you know how much I care.

I love you Nan, always will

x

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4 responses to “>Letter to my nan

  1. >Hi…i loved this letter to your nan. My grandmother passed away last year after living with dementia, then alzheimers for over 15 years. Up until the last year, she knew my mom, but had forgotten who I was very early on. But..i continued to visit her…i would tell her who i was only once, then i became whomever she wanted me to be…and just listened to her, or sat and held her hand while we watched tv. I have to tell you…seeing children (my nieces and nephews) brightened her day even if she didn't know who they were. Although I don't know you…I want to tell you…while your nan might not know who you are in context, she will know, for the time being, that you are a lovely girl coming to visit with her.

  2. >That is such a lovely letter! It brought a tear to my eye! Grandparents are quite simply so special, each in their very own way 🙂 xx

  3. >Thank you for your comments, makes me have tears in my eyes reading it back actually. Christy, you've made me determined to go and see her – I'm seeing my dad at the weekend so I'll ask him to bring a key. Even if she does think I'm a new carer or just some nice girl who's come to sit with her, that's better than not seeing her at all. I've been so concerned with not upsetting her by confusing her about who I am, but like you said I'll tell her who I am just the once and then I'll be whoever she wants me to be, it's worth it just to see her.

  4. >A lovely, heart-wrenching letter x

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