Dear Grandma,

Dear Grandma,

Thank you for these memories. Thank you for the life you lived.

When I was told I couldn’t leave the table until I had finished all my tea – and so I ate all of my eggs and soldiers…including the eggshell.

When you gave us banana water. You told us it was squash and when we asked why it tasted like banana and looked at the label, it said ‘for milk’. You said you thought they must have been joking, surely it would curdle.

When you gave me a suspender belt in front of all the family. It is still the sexiest thing I own. I tried it on (over my clothes) and you said I had a waist just like yours.

When you say I look like Dad, and everyone who says I look like mum is wrong.

When we both broke our arms. You were desperate to be playing golf again. We’re survivors, you and me. We don’t give up and we don’t stay down.

When we’d go Christmas shopping, it was such a treat. We’d go across on Hythe ferry, a real adventure. Did we buy my body warmer? I remember a pink jumper too.

When you set my hair on fire with a hairdryer because you were concentrating more on the story you were telling.

When you met Rach’s Josh and said ‘he’s a quiet one isn’t he?’ because you were talking the entire time.

When we’d go to Bournemouth beach and it would be cloudy and you’d say it would be fine as long as there was ‘enough blue sky to patch a sailor’s trousers’. Playing new market around the table. And your chocolate upside down pudding. Playing at the bottom of your garden, through the gate, where imagination was. Watching the one film you had, the Rescuers, every time we came round.

When you wrote me letters at uni and the first time you sent a stamp so that I could write back. Because stamps are expensive. But you said there was no need to write back, you knew I was busy.

When you and Grandad came to visit me at uni and we went to Nandos. And you made all my new friends laugh about getting dressed up to go to a dance and not being able to sit on the bus because of your skirt. And Grandad told us about how he used to walk around with a clipboard so that it looked like he knew what he was doing. You bought a cake. That was March 17th, 2011. I had no idea how much was about to change. You were constant and I’m so grateful that I had so much love in my life because it meant that the hate couldn’t win.

When you came to visit in Reading and we went to Wagamamas so I could tell you all about my trip to China and I took my iPad and showed you the pictures. And then we went shopping for a dress for a party you were going to and you were conscious of the scar on your chest but I thought it was a badge showing the world how strong your heart was.

The first time we Skyped was so great. You couldn’t believe that we could both see and hear each other.

When you looked after me at Rachel’s graduation because I was in constant pain and you knew what that was like. I should have looked after you. You taught me about selflessness.

When Tom and I came round to show you our pictures of Malta and you and Grandad told us all about your trip around Europe on a motorbike. You were stopped on the Italian border and searched, and someone thought you were a prostitute in Spain.

When I broke up with Tom and you wrote me a letter about your first boyfriend and how it broke your heart, but now you have Grandad.

When Grandad got his new teeth and came out and you said ‘oh I’m falling in love with you all over again’ and Grandad and the dentist were both embarrassed but you didn’t care. I want to be in love like that.

When you came to the premiere of Marigold 2. You looked like a movie star and the red carpet was especially for you. You met everyone. You have always loved films and you tell the whole story, including subplots so that there are loads I don’t need to see now. The man from the BBC was going to come round and interview you and you cleaned up and made biscuits. He never came and I’m cross about that. You spoke on the radio like a natural. You wrote me a letter afterwards saying ‘you are a good thoughtful person and I’m very proud of you’.

When I got the job at the pub and you said I’d need to wear a push-up bra. Although actually I’d be alright with my tiny waist.

When you were in hospital that last time and you made friends with a man who didn’t get any visitors.

The way you’d say ‘I’ve been keeping up with you through your website/blog’ and you mean Facebook. You were always so proud of me. When I got a job where sometimes I was on camera, I always thought of you.

When you took me to Cafe Rouge on my 19th birthday and we had champagne. I had just got back from two months in France and you wanted to hear all about it, and for me to feel at home with the cuisine! I got food poisoning somehow…but we had a wonderful time.

When I got back from four months travelling and came round to show you and Grandad the pictures, and you got out your atlas and circled everywhere I’d been. You saw so much of the world together and loved travelling. You were always so keen to see us live our own lives, and then you wanted to hear everything about all our adventures. You loved the south coast of France.

The way you’d call me ‘my sweet’. You gave me your eyes and your kindness and your desire to tell stories. Thank you.

Love from your Golden Girl xxxx

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