“Don’t Steal the Tiramisu”
It was a tough end to 2016 for me. On Christmas Day my dad called to tell me that my gran had a fall at home and was in hospital. It was her second Christmas in a row spending time in hospital. It hadn’t come as too much of a shock as her health hadn’t been the best in the last two years. What did come as a shock was firstly the amount of concern in my dad’s voice which made me think there was more to this fall than previous hospital visits. Speaking later in the day it became clearer that gran had a stroke on Christmas Day. The second shock was getting a message the next day telling me that I better make my way back to my family home as soon as possible. My gran was a tough cookie so being told to come home-made me realise this was a lot more serious than I had initially thought. We booked our tickets on Boxing Day and headed back home the next day.
We went to visit my gran in hospital and were chatting away to her, but she never regained full consciousness while I was there. I do think she heard what we were saying to her though as she did make a couple of grumbling noises at moments where I think she would normally have joined into the conversation. The whole family went into the hospital to visit, taking it in turns to stay by her side. The doctors didn’t sound too optimistic when we left on the first evening. The second day she sounded like she had been running a marathon. I think I knew this wasn’t a good sign at all, but I always thought of my gran as a tough fighter and if anyone could get through it, she could.
As we left on the second evening, we all wished her goodbye and that we’d see her soon. I told her not to go downstairs to steal all the tiramisu, something that we both loved to eat. I didn’t realise then that those would be my last words to her.
It’s now a week since my gran passed away and I still don’t think it’s sunk in with me. It just doesn’t seem real. Her health hadn’t been the best, but the stroke came out of the blue. She was 91 and still as feisty in her conversations with me only a few weeks before when I had last visited her in her own house. I feel on the edge of crying at strange moments, but have only once ran to the bathroom to stop myself to keep strong for my dad.
The Sound of Music came on the TV on New Years Day. It’s a film I often watched with my gran growing up. She loved visiting Austria and had many happy holidays over there with my grandpa. In fact, we found some fantastic photographs of her in Austria wearing traditional Austrian dress. I don’t recall seeing my gran looking as glamorous as in that photograph! She looked fabulous. I could hear the film in the background and it got to the song which I had suggested for gran’s funeral, Edelweiss, and even thinking of it as I write this blog, my eyes are filling with tears.
I told my mum about how I’d had to text my step-mum with the suggestion of the song because I knew I couldn’t control the tears. Despite my parents divorcing when I was young, my mum said that when she was watching The Sound of Music on TV, she started crying too but at the scene of the wedding. My sister is getting married this year and my mum was upset that my gran wouldn’t be there to see it.
My love of desserts definitely came from my gran. If we went out anywhere as a family for a meal, it was always the two of us that would look at the dessert menu to see if we had a little bit of room for something sweet. It’s something we’ve always joked about, that I inherited granny’s sweet tooth, so perhaps it was only fitting that my last words to her were about tiramisu.