Nanny

My beautiful grandmother (whom I called Nanny) passed away on Thursday, having suffered from dementia for most of my life. Instead of remembering her the way she was for the last 8 years, I'd like to preserve the earlier memories. She was 91, and is now at peace, but I miss her more than I can say.

It began with a sound too hard to pronounce, I wasn't able to say Nanna, so turned to Nanny instead and it stuck.

When I think of Nanny I think of her pearls, her dresses, the smell of her wardrobe, her bags with the clasps I found fascinating. The ring she gave me years ago, that she placed upside down on my finger. Her yellow- lidded container perched high on the fridge, filled with my favourite pink biscuits covered in hundreds and thousands. Her struggle with seat belts every time she sat in the car, my special job was to help her put it on. Her magazine stacks, doing find a words while she sat with a crossword. Her lotto tickets, always holding out hope that she'd strike it lucky again. Her long walks from one side of the suburb to the other, going to the leagues club and bringing back meat trays she'd won.

When I think of Nanny I think of her smile, her laugh and her reassurance that if I went in for my nap I would wake up bright as a button, fresh as a daisy, bright eyed and bushy tailed or if I was particularly against napping, a combination of the three. I think of her hugs, playing, and of her home full of things to explore.

I think of how she inspired me in so many ways. I lost my interest in piano once, years ago, but it was her encouragement that made me give it one last chance, and I found a great love for it that continues today.

When I think of Nanny I think of her love, and how even by the time she had forgotten my name, her eyes lit up when she saw me. But what I will never forget is when we told her that I had come third in the state in one of my HSC subjects. For just a moment my Nanny was back, a look of joy and disbelief on her face, as if to say "No! Really?!"- and in that moment I felt I had made her proud.

I know that Nanny wouldn't want me to be so upset, I think she would want me to remember the happy times, to wake up each day bright as a button, fresh as a daisy and bright eyed and bushy tailed.

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