Home is Where the Heart is
I know that I will never live up North again. I love living where I live, but at the age of 46 I feel very blessed that I have both my parents and I still have my Grandma. My entire family still lives in the North West of England, isn’t it funny how few people ever really leave their roots?
Grandma recently celebrated her ninety second birthday, and whilst she is in a home now, on account of a couple of falls, she still has a wonderful sense of humour and spirit. I missed her birthday this year, I sent her flowers but it’s not quite the same as seeing her. Although she had all of her family around her and they made a big fuss of her in the home, I would have just been another face, so really it was nice to have her to myself this weekend.
The journey to my parents was horrendous. It took me 8 hours to do the trip which is only around 250 miles. From the moment I drove onto the M5 I was in bumper to bumper traffic. My computer told me I had averaged 30 miles an hour over the entire journey. By the time I got to my parents I was frustrated, tired and angry. There is nothing worse than anger which cannot be pinned on anything. It was no-ones fault, we were all stuck, everyone on the motorway was trying to get somewhere. There wasn’t one overhead gantry that didn’t flash reduced speed limits or crash notifications. At one point on the journey, my frustration was so palpable I had to scream, I mean really scream, at the top of my voice, there is nowhere else all that angst could go, I’m sure my fellow drivers, if they indeed saw me, thought I was stark raving mad.
I did a little research, according to the TomTom yearly statistics the UK is now officially the worlds most congested country. I am sure that is a per-capita statistic as the top 10 most congested cities mostly sit in China. However, that day, sat on what we laughably call motorways, creeping along, I was watching hours of my life just wasting. It’s not like I could do anything else whilst sat at the wheel, other than sit at the wheel. Instead I listened to Tony Robbins and Deepak Chopra videos on YouTube until I was so internally angry that the last thing I wanted was to be motivated to be “the best I can be”, at that moment in time I just wanted to be at my destination.
I arrived at my parents a long time after they had eaten dinner, but my blessed dad had kept my dinner warm for me and as I sat down, he handed me a large glass of red wine. He knows me so well. I spent a couple of hours with them, putting the world to rights, catching up on the news back home, and then I went for a hot relaxing bath and bed.
The next day I went shopping with my mother. I so rarely get chance to clothes shop. There are few big cities around my home and it’s also nice to be with another woman who knows you and knows what suits you. Both my mother and I have, in the past, invested in Colour me Beautiful one to one sessions with the most wonderful consultant, we know the colours which suit us and the styles, so shopping is actually a lot simpler. I avoid anything muddy coloured and anything chunky or boxy.
My work suit is about a year old now, and working in fire damaged and dirty flooded properties has, over that year, aged it considerably. Plus, I bought it when I had just got back from America and I’ve lost a few pounds since then, so it was time to invest in a new one. A couple of must-have tops which were at a bargain price and a new pair of shoes for dinner with my daughter that evening were purchased.
From there we drove to see my grandma, one of the main reasons for my visit. She didn’t know I was coming and was over the moon to see me. She struggles to hear very well, but in the home there is a visiting room which is quieter, removing the background noise, which made it simpler to talk to her. I showed her pictures of Boo and Catticus and we talked about her birthday and her new friends. She admitted to missing her home, having her things around her, the things that she treasures, she also misses having a cat.
My old cat George went to Grandma when I left for America. She had just lost hers and was devastated but felt she was too old and unsteady on her feet for a kitten. When I explained that George needed somewhere, she was happy to take him in. They fell in love with each other instantly. George was a rescue, I got him from the rescue centre when he was approximately seven years old, I had him for five years before I left, so he was a dribbly old man by then, he just wanted to sleep and be petted, they were a perfect fit. George sadly died not long after I got back into the UK and not long after that Grandma went into the home for some respite. It was nice to see her happy though, she has friends now, the main thing which concerned me about her living in her own home is the utter loneliness. Despite having my mum visit and ladies from church visit, she would still have long stretches without company or conversation, to my mind, that is heartbreaking. The number of lonely people in our society today is heartbreaking, people who don’t see another human being for a meaningful conversation from one day to the next. I spent a good hour with her before we left (the home is unbelievably hot), her parting comment was “don’t get old Abi, it’s not nice”, which I thought was sad.
I love my Grandma very much, she is a generous and saintly soul. I have never heard her say a bad word about anyone. She has donated to charity her entire life and lives life with true love. Whilst she is a quiet and private person in many respects, she is also a beautiful person. When she told me not to get old I told her that our bodies are only packaging, because inside that packaging is the most precious and beautiful soul, weathered with years of experience and a life filled with love and compassion for our fellow human beings. We will all grow old one day, and we will fade from this world, our memory will remain with those who knew us. As generations pass we will only be a face in a photo or a name on a family tree. What we bring to this world and how we affect those our lives touch is our legacy. I know that she is not going to be here forever, so I will treasure every moment I have with her whilst I can.
It was a fleeting visit for the next morning I packed my things and drove home again. Because the clocks had changed I actually set off a lot earlier than I would have normally, I woke at 6am ‘normal’ time which was actually 5am. So I was on the road for 6am and home by 11am, much better timing than getting there.