The musings and misadventures of a girl unprepared

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Grandma Shepherd

Like everyone else I've been through both good and bad times, but one aspect of my life I certainly cannot complain about it my family. I'd write about them all on here if I could, but I have an absolutely huge family so that would take forever. So I'll have to be a bit choosy.

My Grandma's life story is one that I don't know much about. I know she grew up in Manchester (Moss Side to be exact) with three siblings and at one point decided she wanted to be a nun, but then my Grandad came along and ruined all that. Then they got married, had my two uncles and my mum in St Anne's before moving permanently to their house in Preston, in which my Grandma still lives in 47 years on. And to be honest I know little more than that, which is why me and my siblings bought her a book for Christmas called 'To me from you', a pretty journal with space for her to write her life story for us to read. I'm super excited to read it, as the older I get, the more I understand how much the older generation have to share with us and I have this funny feeling that Grandma has some absolute corkers to tell.

However, what I do know about you, Grandma, is what has happened in my life time. That you somehow helped your three children raise your THIRTEEN grandchildren, having us round for dinner every week and helping us all with homework and school art projects. You and Grandad were always the first port of call should one of us fall ill, picking us up from school and tucking us up in the spare double bed with a glass of fizzy water and plenty of Calpol. There was even the time when my sister fell over and got carpet burn on her forehead and was getting loads of sympathy, so I got all jealous and rubbed my head on the carpet so we'd be matching, and despite being reprimanded you still tucked me into the adjacent bed and played doctors and nurses with us. Then there's all the costumes and dresses and jumpers that you've made for us over the years, a skill which I am thrilled to have inherited, and the copious amounts of encouragement we've always received in any aspect of our lives that you've believed we could succeed in.

In the past few years you've had a difficult time as Grandad fell ill. As a team, you'd always been the rock of the family and even as Grandad's Alzheimer's took over,  you still managed to keep it together. We couldn't go round as much anymore, but still visited a lot and tried to help in whatever way we could. There's no 'right way' to deal with what happened to Grandad, but I know for a fact that although he couldn't say it to you at the time, he's now looking down, immensely proud of everything you did for him and for the rest of the family. The kind of strength it must have taken you to get through that time is one I will always aspire to have.

I'll never forget the time you turned up to my 21st birthday party dressed as the Queen of Hearts. Despite the difficult year, somehow you still managed to uphold the Shepherd tradition of being the life and soul of the party. I know Grandad would have been crying with laughter. Generally, the rule is that you're not supposed to outshine the birthday girl but I think I can let you off considering how amazing your costume was, seriously I was SO impressed.

There's so much more I could say. But basically Grandma, I think you're flipping awesome. I hope that one day, I can have the strength, integrity and gentle nature that you have. You're such an ordinary incredible but are so humble about it, I think it is far too often overlooked. So here's to you and everything you stand for. I love you millions!

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