Friday, 7 June 2013

jelly cakes, shower caps, bling and cold sausages

A few weeks ago my dear Nanna Carla passed away. While she'd been living with dementia for the last few years, her passing was unexpected. I'm feeling really grateful that we celebrated Mothers Day with her only a few days before she passed.

As soon as someone in your life is diagnosed with dementia, the grieving process begins. We've been grieving for 'the old Nanna' for a while and it's been hard to watch her live with this disease. Nanna was fiercely independent but I know she would have traded this independence to stay with us all for the extra time she did.

I'll keep missing her, she's played a major role in my life, and I owe so much of who I am to her. In a strange way, I feel closer to her now and have a sense of peace. Rather than worrying about her, I'm remembering all the great things.

I'm remembering jelly cakes, apricot slice, yummy slice, coconut pyramids and butterfly cakes (to name a few).

I'm remembering witchy chins and Imlay shoulders.

I'm remembering movies at Semaphore and secret chocolate bars.

I'm remembering scrabble and spa's and shower caps.

I'm remembering cold sausages and chicken bums.

I'm remembering house pride and clean stovetops.

I'm remembering knitted booties and Power beanies.

I'm remembering colour, bling and costume parties.

I'm remembering faces on and hair set.

I'm remembering that there's no shame in your grandchildren naming you after your dog (her name was actually Doris... She's not the only grandparent trading names with their pet in our family).

I'm remembering arriving early with cane baskets.

I'm remembering too much food and extra gifts.

I'm remembering overwhelming celebrations on Easter, Christmas and birthdays.

I'm remembering sweet and sour chicken and apple (not apricot) pie.

I'm remembering manicured nails, tidy eyebrows and 'not the hair'.

I'm remembering finished crosswords and watching home movies through bifocal glasses.

I'm remembering football grand finals, bombs not detinating and seeing ghosts.

I'm remembering Christmas card competitions, dressing gowns and beating up hospital guards.

I'm remembering Mrs Bucket, hankies up sleeves, leather handbags and maroon walkers.

I'm remembering handcream, fridge magnets, thingy-whatsits, fundraising and school holidays.

I'm remembering generousity, pride, fairness, fun and rhubarb.

I'm remembering a great woman who lived every year of her life with dignity, a sense of her own values and a commitment to making the world a better place for her family as well as people she didn't know.

The same night Nanna Carla (aka Doris) died, I had finished reading 'Julie & Julia' by Julie Powell and a paragraph about her processing Julia Child's death resonated with me:

"Instead of wandering around some hokey, half-baked heaven, wondering how to obtain real Dover sole, she's rattling around the apartments of my brain, banging away at a good sturdy Garland stove and drinking her wine and having a high old time... There are thousands and thousands of her around, in brains all over the world, but this Julia is mine."

One thing I can settle on is this: My grandmother continues to live in my mind as a kind, generous, opinionated, sometimes-pushy, well dressed, loving woman.

She still reminds me to pluck my eyebrows and watch my weight. She tells me I'm a wonderful writer and that she thinks I can do anything I set my mind to. She tells me to stay safe and to 'give my love to Kym'. She tells me to do for others what I would like done for me. She tells me to enjoy the moment and to fight fairly. She tells me it's ok to cry, but it's better to laugh. She tells me to eat cake (her cake).


  1. What a beautiful tribute to your beloved Nanna. ((Hugs!))

  2. Nanna is smiling and watching over you with pride... she would be so happy to be portrayed with such dignity. I cried tears of joy and sadness. xoxox


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