I wrote this about my grandma, who was suffering from Parkinsons disease, at the time.
|Tall, racy, arresting and extremely talented. These are all words I’ve heard used to describe my grandmother. She was also intelligent, witty, charming and beautiful. Musical, artistic, compassionate and a former racing driver, she was unforgettable. I’ve spoken to people who remember her as a mystical woman who looked, sounded and acted like a film-star. One of my friends’ grans remembers mine shopping in her hat shop as a younger woman. She describes grandma as being always immaculately dressed and well spoken and buying hats which were the height of fashion: she looked stunning.
As a child, I can remember her distinctive laugh resounding across the marinas that we used to berth in on sailing holidays. I remember her singing and playing the piano – she had a fantastic voice and could make a piece of music come alive. She recited poetry and I remember still, being told “it’s milk, not mulk”. I can picture her talking to the parrot in the kitchen and it responding in exactly her voice, and can smell and taste the fresh pancakes laid out on a cooling rack on the breakfast bar.
Now, she’s a changed woman and, sadly, it’s years since I’ve heard that laugh. There’s very little now of the film-star persona and stunning beauty of her earlier years, but sometimes, just sometimes, that light still shines through.
Thinking about her now, I realise I know very little about her past: what she enjoyed, believed, how she spent her time. I’m not saying time is running out for her, but I no longer live just five minutes away and it’s more difficult now to spend time with my family and is only going to get harder. Before she forgets, or I forget to ask her, I’d love to know about that woman whom I barely remember from my childhood and before that. Above all, I’d love to hear her laugh just one more time.