Yesterday I had the great honour to spend some of my afternoon at a local care home. Along with the majority of my family, I had gone to share in the Christmas party for my grandfather and his fellow residents.
He was visited by a Santa who ensured that there were no gender exclusions on who got to don the red suit and beard. His face lit up on being given a mince pie, and he even won a couple of prizes in the raffle. We selected for him a wooden bowl to store his chocolates and biscuits, and he got the second last prize of a wine rack. Something I have willingly inherrited.
A lovely afternoon was had by all, and it marked a great change for the better since I had last seen him. On my last visit he had moved to his new home and was, understandably rather tired so slept lots. Over the intervening months he enjoyed a fabulous Hallowe’en party, got visited by a donkey, adopted the house cat met his great grandaughter and fought with her over a biscuit, and went to the garden centre. Not bad for a man in his mid-eighties no longer able to talk or move easily on his own.
It was really great to see him yesterday and my aunt made the experience all the more unique by presenting each resident and guest with a home-made fabric christmas hat. The photos of them all are great. Everyone seemed more than willing to embrace the spirit of the occasion so all the staff were wearing them too.
The whole event was really lovely and thanks go to all the staff who organised it.
It turns out that it was Grandad’s last party – but then eating a mince pie and drinking glass of wine seem no bad way to spend your evening, whether final or not.
This we were phoned to say that he’d died suddenly, after being lethargic all day. It’s been about 3 years since he got properly ill and 5 – 6 years since his first major stroke. And, by unexpected co-incidence, nanny finds herself surrounded by all of her children despite the usual thousands of miles which separate them.
Tomorrow we mark Christmas as was planned, and we’ll raise a glass to Nanny’s late husband – much loved husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather.