A Cuppa in Costas: A Magic Moment
Sitting in the Costa Coffee in the hospital, we must have looked a right spectacle: 8 people, sat all around 3 tables, loud as ever, chattering, ordering teas, coffees, hot chocolates, cakes. This was what it was always like when I was around my family. My Nan, sat in the middle, taking it all in, the Matriarch, her family around her, protecting her, looking after her.
My Nan had been diagnosed with incurable lung cancer, with brain metastases, a few weeks before. We had originally thought it was a stroke, and I rushed down that day in a panic. Would I never hear her warm welsh voice again? Would she need to be in a care home? I was devastated but I never thought that things could be even worse.
When it became clear it wasn’t a stroke, and she was still confused, disorientated, couldn’t finish sentences, hold a fork or recognise people, I knew something was seriously wrong. As a liaison nurse in a hospital, I had seen some of these symptoms before. I was heartbroken already, because before anyone had told me, I knew she had cancer, and when they told me she had a shadow on her lung, I knew it could only be one thing: Lung Cancer. And it was.
I suddenly felt so guilty; it was March, and I hadn’t been down to visit her since Christmas. Me and my Nan were very close, in fact she was close to all her grandchildren, and she had a special relationship with every one of them. When I first qualified as a Nurse, I lived with her and my Grandad, and when I look back now, it was the happiest time of my life. I ate like a King (My Nan always fed me up), and I enjoyed their company. My Nan was a fun, happy, funny person and not a moany complaining old lady. She loved life, and she loved nothing better than to watch films with me of an evening. She introduced me to some of my favourite films in this time: Dead Calm, Frantic, A Town Called Alice, Ice Cold in Alex, What Lies Beneath, What’s Love Got to Do With It, Mummy Dearest, Hostel, Teeth (yes she loved a horror) – I could go on. We also indulged in a weekly wednesday night of watching Most Haunted Live whilst eating mint Magnums. I loved living with them both, and when I left to live in Bristol with Dan, I cried all the way down the M4.
So, a few weeks after the diagnosis, we were sat in Costa Coffee, and we were all together, and I was sat next to my Nan who was enjoying a hot chocolate. Steroids had temporarily reduced the swelling on her brain, and she was her old self again. She was wearing a pink nightie and the fluffiest dressing gown you could imagine. She was looking at me, and I looked up and said ‘Alright Nan?’ and she turned to me and said ‘You are like a daughter, to me’. I could have cried there and then. I think what she meant was, we were close, and I am sure she thought the same for her other grandaughters too. But in that moment, in that instant, I felt she was saying something to me, before it was too late, in her own, special way. I hugged her in that fluffy dressing gown, and we got on with eating the cake.
That was a magic moment for me. My Nan still looked like my Nan; she had her hair, she looked herself, she could talk, she could be normal for a while. 7 weeks later, my Nan passed away, and I was there with her that day, but she chose to leave just at the moment myself, my aunty, and my cousin left the room for a few minutes. She never did like to make a fuss. I wrote a poem about this, here.
I just wanted to write about this today, as I was thinking about my Nan, and that day in Costas, and how much it meant to me, for her to say that to me, right then.
I write a lot about my Nan, mainly poems, and I am sorry if I go on about her, but she was a big influence in my life, and I was devastated when she died. I still am, two years later.
I am joining up with The Oliver’s Madhouse Magic Moments.