My nanny passed away on Friday night. My dad called to let me know, and I knew something was wrong as usually he calls on a Sunday but as his friend had died recently I just assumed it was likely related to that. Then he told me and honestly, it didn’t hit me right away. Hell, it didn’t really hit me all that night. I live quite a while away from my family these days so it can be quite tough but I assumed that perhaps I’d already let her go somewhat. She’d had Parkinson’s and slipped away into dementia to the point where she had to stay in a care home, so in some ways, we had lost her already. But not entirely. It didn’t really hit me until I was checking Facebook and saw that my auntie Barbara had posted an album of photos of my nanny throughout her life. It was a lovely collection of photos, full of warm memories and life.
Dementia is a strange thing. We know that the person experiencing it doesn’t really have any clue what’s really going on around them a lot of the time, so as far as we’re aware, it’s a very similar feeling to that when you’re woken up in the middle of the night, have no idea where you are, who you are, what’s going on, who you’re with, and usually don’t even remember the next day that it even happened. It’s kind of embarrassing the next day when you’re told about it, but if that’s what dementia is like.. well I’d like to think it’s the case. That the person experiencing it is living a waking dream and slowly falls asleep. Sometimes dreams can be a bit scary but for the most part, the assumption that she wasn’t in any pain and didn’t know what was going on is a comforting one.
To me, my nanny was a kind woman who loved her family, listened to classic.fm, loved to read and do crosswords, always watched Countdown with a notepad so that she could play along, and enjoyed a white wine spritzer. So, I’m going to dedicate to my nanny, a song that is in my head right now (because I’ve been playing Civilisation 5 as the British), I Vow To Thee, My Country. It is a beautiful, uplifting piece of music that puts me in mind of Summer afternoons in Bradgate Park.