Mrs Joyce Muriel Last

Post length: 555 words, about 2 and a half minutes.

I think the last time I did a proper update was in September after my visit to see my Grandma in hospital, so I’ll start off there.  Please excuse me if I repeat anything I said in that post – I’ve no read it recently.

At the time she was in a ward Middlesbrough.  The ward wasn’t the best place for her – there was nothing to do, she was getting bored.  Although she was ill she was still basically mentally fit when prompted.  Yes, she couldn’t always remember things very clearly, but she was a very clever woman and when we visited as a family and talked to her about things she enjoyed (we did the crossword together, for example), she was fine.  On that visit we found some photos from her first wedding in the cupboard and my mum took those with her on the next visit to show her, and she remembered quite a bit about it, although couldn’t remember where abouts in Leeds the photos had been taken.  So my mum kept on at the hospital to get her moved somewhere nicer, somewhere nearer home, to the hospital I was born in, the little town hospital in Guisborough.

A couple of weeks after my visit they found a bed in Guisborough and she was moved there.  The room she moved to, I’m told, was much nicer.  The whole hospital, my mum reported, was much more friendly, much more set up for long term stays.  She had her own television and the staff asked what she’d like to watch to make sure she didn’t miss it.  She even had her hair done by the visiting hairdresser.  This was an important point – when we’d visited her in Middlesbrough she’d commented on how it had got a bit flat because she hadn’t been able to see a hairdresser.  I can imagine, for a woman who’s always had perfect hair, this was a major concern.

My mum visited every weekend from then on and I kept in contact with her.  She told me that the nursing staff had heard her praying.  I think this was the point I realised that she’d decided that was enough.

She died not long after that, peacefully in the day with my mum there.  My mum had been to see her in the morning and she wasn’t really conscious, but she knew my mum was there.  Apparently she could move her feet a little if she wanted to acknowledge something.  My mum left her for a while to go into the town centre – she had a few things to do – and on her return she was greeted by the nurses who told her they were just about to call her.  My Grandma’s breathing had slowed, she was obviously pretty close to dying.

My mum sat with her and put the radio on.  My Grandma had always been very musical and played the piano very well into her old age.  Radio 3 were playing piano music.  The sun was shining brightly outside, and my mum read some sections from the bible.  Her breathing became slower until it finally stopped altogether.

My grandmother died peacefully on the 19th September 2009 in the same hospital I was born, almost exactly 25 years later.

Posted on Tuesday 22nd December, 2009 at 4:10 pm in People.
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