It’s Thursday night and we’re printing out memorial sheets for the service tomorrow. Some of you will know (but not many as I’ve been unable to actually speak about it to more than a few) that K’s Mum, Marnie’s beloved Gran and my not so wicked Mother In Law is gone, she left us last Thursday. She had cancer, she was so ill, in true tradition of me, I chose to ignore that and convinced myself she would get better, a family can’t survive without it’s backbone.
Last Friday I walked around lost, not really knowing what the point to life is now – a spare room with no one to stay. 500 plants and 600 cats that now have no home. A woman that was cut so cruelly at her prime, just when she was starting to really find her independence and confidence, she was truly finally enjoying her life. A person that I can’t believe will not be a part of not only Marnie’s growing up but also my own. Our family is gone.
I’m not going to lie and say our relationship was always easy, I didn’t really know her properly until Marnie was almost here and her opinions were strong. Tired, disorientated me was always on the back foot and I spent a lot of our early years feeling totally dominated by a matriarchal mother of 3 boys that didn’t really understand me – a surprise, full time working new mother, in a job that’s really freaking hard, that I had no choice but to go back to months after birth because I had a mortgage to pay. Doesn’t mean I didn’t love her though and as the years passed we began to understand, respect and love each other little by little. She’s a struggler, she dragged herself through her life which wasn’t easy as a single Mum of 3 but somehow always managed to provide everything needed through her own self sacrifice, hard work and limitless love. I never once heard her moan about her lot, never once did she say she regretted things and wished them different.
Thursday was Gran day so it’s somewhat fitting that that’s the day she chose to leave us. K and I coined a phrase for Gran’s Thursday visits due to her eagerness to help around the house which wasn’t always successful, “the help that doesn’t help”. Things would be rearranged so you couldn’t find them, she would seemingly spend all day doing chores, only to present us when we got home with a massive, useless pile of ironed pants and socks (ironing was her favourite job whilst watching CSI all day) and would try and make us a nice hot meal, forgetting that vegetables were a major part of any diet and thinking that mountains of salt were. She was so eager to make our lives any easier if she could, she loved having Marnie to stay in Largs to give us a break and Marnie loved staying with her, she just would have done anything we needed at her sacrifice, no questions asked. It was a god send knowing she was there and that it made her day to be able to help us out in any way she could.
Last year she was diagnosed with blood cancer, a ferocious beast at best but really not so good when you’re of a certain age, she fought and took all her treatment in good humour. Unfortunately in early December the cancer really took a turn for the worse and she was admitted to the Beatson after staying with us for the weekend of Etsy Made Local. She was in such a state and I will feel forever guilty that we never noticed. They pumped her with chemo and patched her up to some resemblance of the Gran we once knew. They massaged and pampered her back to health and she was lifted by regular visits from her walking group friends. Christmas was spent in the Beatson where things really were starting to look hairy and this was to be the repeat exhausting pattern for the next few months, well for a bit and being allowed home, followed by a catastrophic dive and rush back to hospital. Still rather naively I thought it would all work out OK.
Last week we received the call to say that was it – say your goodbyes – the end. Still I didn’t believe it, someone that strong will surely survive. Everyone was at the hospital, I caught the train to Inverclyde after dropping Marnie at school to say my farewell. I didn’t make it in time, I was 20 minutes late, K met me at the station to tell me she had gone. My world imploded, I shall miss her dearly.