Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Las' Lap

Mum has been here for over a month now. We have been having a great time and it is so good to see her.

But the whole time she's been here, there's been The Decision. What is going to happen to Margo? Should I get a larger flat, and have her with me? Should Margo move into a home? Should she go to Trinidad for a 'Visit', and stay with Mum? There are nursing homes in Trinidad too. How about having someone move into Margo's tiny flat with her?

Margo, the most independent ninety-four year old in the world. Who insists that she does not NEED any help (I just visit for a cuppa every day, see, on my way to the shop. Cuz it's on my way. And I might as well get Margo's groceries, while I'm there. And I have nothing to do today, so let's go out.)

Finally, a decision. Margo is hopping on a plane and heading to Trinidad, initially to stay with Mum. She forgets this every five minutes, but people keep coming to visit and to remind her.

Margo lived in Trinidad for years, after the war. Her home town had been bombed to smithereens and my grandfather had been in Trinidad, an engineer with the Merchant Navy (which is a whole BOOK full of stories) so he packed up his family and shipped them away from the mess and rubble of England. My mum met my dad there, and after her family moved back to England she finished school, bought herself a ticket on a boat going in the right direction and sped back to her island and her handsome and dashing feller. (I WONDER WHO THAT DASHING FELLER IS? Has he fixed his blogger thingy yet? Does he need reminding how? Will we ever know?)

Margo used to come and visit us every year in Trinidad, whiling away the Winter months. We always got along like a house on fire, Margo and I. I would show her my sewing projects and she would say "You should baste them together, dear," and I would ignore her and end up unpicking. Last week, we had the exact same conversation as I tried to add a few interesting inches to the lining of a dress. "Have you basted them together?"

"Nah, just pinned... OW!"

"Why are you unpicking?"

"Oooh, look over there!"

Ahh. The advantages of a complete lack of short term memory.

I will miss Margo so much. I am sad, happy, excited at my imminent freedom, worried, and absolutely dreading the hairdresser tomorrow. Margo will forget that she wanted a haircut, and then worry loudly while it's happening that they will cut too much off, then accuse me of MAKING her go, then complain that they hardly cut her hair at all, then forget she's been, look in the mirror and announce that she MUST have a haircut tomorrow. Repeat.

Margo knows, really, that this is it. It's not just a visit, although she wants us not to sell her flat yet 'Just in Case', which is fine. In a moment of clarity, Margo said: "This is it. This is my Las' Lap." In Trinidad, the Las' Lap (last lap) is one last BIG party at the end of the Carnival celebration, the final run before Ash Wednesday and Lenten fasting.

I love that lady's style.

8 comments:

RAN said...

Really interesting Nancy - I could relate to this too, we brought my grandmother from Jamaica to live with my mum and dad, at 90something. She mainly remembered her early life (which was fascinating), and often thought I was my mother. She lived to 103.
Keep up the writing!
Rosemary N.

rory@ajoupapottery.com said...

I dont know HOW to fix it!!
Anyway, you have been Incredible with your Gran.
You are a Rare Treasure.

Pappi.

Nan Sheppard said...

Thanks all.

Anonymous said...

Your mum must have eaten cascadoo when she was here.
Nothing like a sweet Trini man, eh Pappi?
I think your Gran will be just fine, she's got loving souls looking after her.
:)
Vicki

Islandgirl said...

I feel to cry.

But on the bright side I am gaining a "Great Granny" :)

Its a new phase of life Nan, for all of you and everything is as it should be. Time to focus on your writing. You have been amazing to your Granny..and no matter how short her short term memory is she'll never forget all your love.

Big hugs to you my friend. Love you.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I'm all teary reading this. Bless your family--all of them--for the fabulous way you treat Margo and honor her.

Grandmother said...

I'm with Green Girl- blessings on you all. How lucky for Margo to have multiple places to go to be loved and cared for. Lots of stories to enrich your writing. Hugs to you and Bunty.

Wacky Mommy said...

xo to you and your family, Nan.