Today would have been my Great Grandmas 109th birthday. A lot of people probably never met any of their Great Grandparents. I was lucky to have had 18 years with one.
My Great Grandma, was the mother of my Grandma on my mum’s side. Her name was Mary King, but most people knew her as Molly. She past away when she was 103 and a week. That week is very important to me. I didn't even know it would be her last week with us. As a family it wasn't spent worried and preparing ourselves for her final few days, I didn’t even see her that week.
The last time I saw my Great Grandma was on her 103rd birthday, opening her presents and cards in a care home she’d only spent the last 3 weeks of her life in because until those last three weeks, she lived in the same home she’d lived in for over 80 years.
My 18th birthday was five days after her 103rd. I’d finished college, planned a party for the weekend, I wanted to invite her, although I don’t think a party full of drunk 18 year olds was exactly her thing.
Two days after my birthday, the 30th of June 2011, my Great Grandma passed away. I remember everything about that day.
My mum came into my room that morning to say she was taking my Grandma to visit my Great Grandma, this wasn’t new, my Grandma and Grandad would go over to Leeds more than twice a week and Mum said she was giving my Grandad a break. I wanted to go too but I had a beauticians appointment at 1pm so Mum agreed to take me in two days, the day after my party thinking I could show Great Grandma all the photos and gifts I received.
It was such a hot day that I walked down to the salon. When I was walking home around 2:30pm my friend Jack called me to talk about my party the next day, I remember laughing with him whilst my mum was ringing my phone. She called me again so when I’d made it home I said I’d call Jack back and ended the call.
I didn’t call Jack back. I wasn’t ready for what my Mum had to say. Mum told me my Great Grandma passed away, I was home alone. I just sat on the sofa, staring out the window and the house phone rang, it was my Uncle Michael (Mum’s brother). Mum had tried to call him and she wasn’t answering now, I had to tell him myself. It was the weirdest feeling hearing the words come out of my own mouth.
I didn’t cry, I couldn’t cry, I was in shock. My tan didn't have a streak in sight, but I couldn't have cared less, all I could think about is when she passed away I was getting a spray tan for a party that I didn't even want anymore.
Throughout the next two weeks and the whole day of her funeral, I still didn't cry. It was so surreal. It didn't feel like she was gone. I’d never experienced death before. I didn’t think about the possibility of anyone close to me ever passing away. I used to joke that she was immortal, I think I’d said it so much that I started to believe that too.
My Great Grandma was the best. I’m definitely biased but she really was. She would say she's watching her tele every night incase I pop up in the background of Waterloo Road again, even when the show was between seasons. I swear she had Facebook when I turned up one day and she asked how my boyfriend was and I’d not even told her yet. She'd looked after herself and lived in the same home where she’d given birth and brought up my Grandma, Christine and her older sister, June. The same house we used to visit her, sat in her chair always wearing an apron waiting to make cups of tea for visiting friends and family.
I still have the money she gave me from our last Christmas with her. I have a bunny rabbit soft toy from when I was little that she gave me with my name on, sat in my bedroom. I see her in myself every day, especially when I’m stubborn and won’t give in, like she was only having one person come check on her in the mornings besides family and friends and refused to have an emergency alarm cord or bracelet for incase she falls. She was a Great-Great Grandma from her eldest daughters side of the family and somehow she managed to remember to send a card on everyones birthday.
It’s been six years since I last saw my Great Grandma, I still haven't cried for her, I don't know if I ever will. I think because it doesn't seem real, I don't think it ever will, it still feels like she's at her home in Leeds and we've just not been to visit recently. I'll can still remember kissing her on the cheek goodbye and saying ‘love you’ on my last visit. I hope I don't ever forget that moment.
Happy 109th Birthday to my Hero, my Idol, my Great Grandma.
Me with my Great Grandma a few days after I was born.
One of my favourite photos, Great Grandma at Uncle Michael and Auntie Janet's Wedding.
The last time I saw my Great Grandma, on her 103rd birthday.
Great Grandma's 100th birthday with her two daughters, Christine (my Grandma - on the left) and June.
Great Grandma's 100th birthday with her Grandson Michael (my Uncle).
Great Grandma's 100th birthday, receiving her card from the Queen.
Great Grandma's 100th birthday with her Great Granddaughter Megan (my Cousin).
Great Grandma's 100th birthday with her Granddaughters Pamela and Janet (my Mum and Auntie).
Great Grandma's 100th birthday, surrounded by family and friends after blowing out her candles.