“You can outlive longevity” My Dad told me that once about my Granma. Many years ago. 10 years before that, she’d told him she’d lived her life; she was ready for it to be over.

I visited my Granma today. I don’t go very often. I don’t like it. She’s normally still in bed and she can’t hear me and doesn’t always know who I am. Agent Echo’s fine – she breezes in and smiles and talks cheerfully and does Granma’s nails but I… I freeze up and notice her paper-thin skin and think of death.

Today, Daddy was just leaving when I arrived. She seemed shocked – who is this strange woman touching me? – and didn’t – wouldn’t – look at me. Dad told her who I was and held my hand over her bed, but I don’t think she heard him. He handed me a notepad so I could write to her and left.

“Hi Grandma, it’s Fern – hope you like the cyclamen.” She read the note, laid the pad on her bed and carried on looking away from me. She wouldn’t even look at the flowers. No chair, so I dithered on my feet by the bed, feeling lost and lonely and afraid. I took the pad back gently. Did I imgaine the slight frown on her face? “I can’t stay long, but it was really nice to see you. Loads of love. X” I handed it back. She took more time to read it and smiled. I explained I had to go shopping and left. She waved good bye.

The door needs a code to let you out (to stop the old people escaping? can’t have them loose in society). The nurse saw I didn’t know how to get out and joked I’d have to stay with Granma. More guilt that I rarely come and never stay long. More fear.

I told Granma I would come and see her again. I wasn’t sure if I was telling the truth.



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