I said goodbye to my Nanna this evening.
For a significant part of the evening she thought I was called Bill, but that’s neither here nor there. Bill, I told her, was a perfectly good name, and would be just fine for tonight.
Mostly, though, we just sat companionably watching the Christmas television. She was a bit concerned for a while about EastEnders, but after we’d confirmed in response to her questioning that it was definitely fiction, she was just fine with that.
Most of the time I just sat down by the side of her wheelchair and held her hand.
Mum and Dad were there too. We ate leftovers from yesterday’s dinner in front of the television, and watched the soaps, and had a drink or two. A pretty standard Christmas all told.
Occasionally Nanna would look down, and be surprised that I was there. Because there you are, sitting in your wheelchair, dozing off mostly and occasionally seeing something interesting on the telly, and you’d suddenly realise that there was someone holding your hand and who was it?
But it was all right. Because she’d look down at me, and I’d smile up at her and say “I love you, Nanna,” and she’d smile back at me, a huge great smile that meant more to me than anything and say “Love you,” and that would be fine.
Because that’s all you need, really. To know that someone in this world loves you, even if you’re not really sure who they are any more.
She’s not eating much. A couple of pieces of cheese, each smaller than a die. A quarter of a slice of bread, with a little bit of butter on it. Tried a little bit of Southern Comfort, which was her favourite Christmas tipple once upon a time, but didn’t fancy that much – too sweet – so we settled on a brandy and ginger ale, perhaps a shot glass’s worth. And that was mostly ginger ale.
But it was nice to have a Christmas drink with her again.
I don’t think Nanna and I will be able to spend another Christmas together, and that makes me sad. But all things have their end, and we sat together today and watched Morecambe and Wise. “I like them,” she told me. And so do I. So we had a lovely Boxing Day, the four of us, and I can’t think of a better way to have spent it.
I love you, Nanna.