A box of treasure

I’ve been sitting here starring at that blinking curser for god knows how long. The thing is, it’s not writers block, and it’s not for lack of knowing what I want to write about,  Its more the fact, how do I put words down to paper to express exactly what I want to write. How do I explain how it feels when someone you know and someone you love has basically lost their mind and become a shell of their former person.  How does one ever understand or cope with or reason with – Alzheimer’s .

I don’t think I ever could put it into words, so best not I even try.. so instead what I would like to share is this:

My Nanna lives in England, and obviously, I and my family live here in Australia. It’s because of this reason I have loved Christmas and big occasions oh so much. At Christmas time and some Easters and some birthdays, my Nanna came to visit us. My Aunt and Uncle also make the Christmas trip over from whatever country they are in at the time. We would have a massive “proper” Christmas lunch (the only way I know with turkey and pork and ham and lots of roasted veggies and of course my Mums famous TRIFLE *drool*) and then all play cricket and swim in the pool all afternoon. Of course this is Melbourne weather depending!

This was and is my favourite time of the year, ask anyone I know. We all sang together while putting the trimmings on the tree and all famously sat around in a circle while I ceremoniously handed out the gifts..etc etc.

But of course, there was always a time when my Nanna and other family members had to leave, and I would be devastated, especially as a child. Back then, England was universes away, literally impossible to comprehend as a 5/6/7/8 year old.

My brother and I would always write my Nanna a goodbye card, and birthday / Easter card. My mum being the craft teacher/guru she is, must have instilled this trait in us, cards, letters, drawings. You name it, we did it and a lot of the time sent them on to our Nanna along with photos and even sometimes some scratch and sniffs ha ha ha (remember those!)

These cards and letters and the like, I haven’t thought of in a long time… until now.

My mum sent a giant box of things over from my Nanna’s house in England this week, a box full of a lifetime of memories and apparently it’s nothing compared to what my mum and aunt have found.

Turns out, every one of those letters, every one of those photos and every single one of those cards we have sent my Nanna, you guessed it, she has them still. She has kept the most amazing things from our childhood and also my mum’s childhood. She had them all in her bedroom, stored away nicely. I guess to go through on a rainy day and to reminisce about another time.

My mum has sent me a few things, things she thought I would like to see again and things my Nanna won’t be able to comprehend again.

She has even got, and this one made my eyes well up like no mans business, the letter my dad wrote after my brother was born in 1982, expanding on their brief phone call they had (which back then for international would of cost an arm and a leg) telling her about the tests they had done on him as a new born and how he passed with flying colours and how he “the baby is beautiful”. She had that, in her box of goodies, and it made my heart cry out in joy and sink in sorrow within the same breath.

Its amazing that we get to see these things again, but its heart breaking at the same time.

Sometimes it’s hard to think about someone getting old, someone losing their memory, someone losing their former spirit, Alzheimer’s.  But, I am grateful my Nanna is still here. She is living and loving and laughing and although her memory and a few other cognitive processes may be failing, I know she is in there somewhere, the feisty stubborn, big hearted, only ever a skirt wearing woman that we’ve always known and loved….

These are just two of the things I found in the box of never ending, heart warming, treasures.

I would take a guess of the ages I was when I did them, the first I would have been about 7/8 and the second one I would hazard a guess at about 12/11. Don’t worry, I know how to spell AWESOME now!


~ Linking in with Jess for IBOT – there’s a LOT of awEsome going on over there ~


26 thoughts on “A box of treasure

  1. Oh Meagan, what a beautiful post. I am standing here in the kitchen reading this with my eyes full of tears – so much so I battled to read the last few paragraphs ! I know how difficult this disease is – my FIL had it and it was awful to see the deterioration in him, to know him n the before and then the after was so sad.
    Thank you for sharing this and what wonderful memories you have of your Nanna.
    Love, hugs and positive energy !

  2. WOW!!! I have goose bumps. That is awesome! I’m so sorry your nanna and those who love her have to deal with this dreaded alzheimers. It is truly terrible. My uncle developed dementia at 55(ish – hard to know exactly when it started) and passed away at 62 from other complications that came from it (parkinsons amongst them). I saw a smart savvy businessman who made his own successes, had a beautiful family, turn into a helpless, lost soul, who didn’t know who his own wife and kids were, who couldn’t speak words let alone put a sentence together. It is truly the most horrible of horrible diseases. And it’s so frustrating that with medicine and technology these days there hasn’t been a break through for treatment/cure. Sending your family lots of love, and I’m so glad you have these beautiful beautiful memories to keep.

    • Yes, lucky we are all reasonably strong, especially my mum and aunt, so we can all band together. Early on set is the pits I can only imagine, and adding parkinsons to that, god awful :(( I also can not believe that there is no “cure” or real prevention for these.. really crazy. I hope that one day soon there is. thanks for you kind words Aroha xx

  3. We were only talking about Alzheimers the other day, and what a horrible disease it is. One of Boatman’s friends mum has got early onset, and it has put their plans on hold. They were going to sail around Australia on their yacht when they retired, and now they won’t get the chance.
    It makes you really want to cherish every moment.
    It seems like your nanna really did. xxx

  4. Wonderful memories. Fancy your nanna holding on to these for so long, her losing her memory, yet providing beautiful heart warming memories for you. She really is one in a million. My nanna had dementia, she died in another country, I’d only met her once. But I felt for my dad, knowing his Mum was losing touch with reality and being a world away. I was devastated for him when he rang home and she didn’t know who he was and then forgot to find grandad and left him hanging on a dead line. It makes my heart hurt thinking about that 😦

    • Its horrible how it makes your heart hurt – its not nice in any way. Wish their was some sort of cure – but no, there is not. Sorry for your and your Dads loss too x

  5. What beautiful memories your Nanna has left you. I also started losing my grandmother to dementia, many years ago, and then finally, when she died last year, lost her completely. It would be even harder I imagine, having her so far away. Thinking of you and your family.

    • It is hard, especially the state of care given in England for things like this, its really poor. Death is horrible enough without the sicknesses that people have leading up to it. Sorry for your loss also x

  6. It’s such a heart breaking disease. To have all those memories and all those letters must be bittersweet.
    Having your mum instil in you the importance of the written word is also beautiful. That’s something very precious to be grateful for.

  7. Beautiful memories Meagan. Cherish them. I lost my grandfather to dementia when I was in my early teens. At 41, my only surviving grandparent is my paternal grandfather… and he turns 97 next week. For the first time in 11 years, we’re going to be there for his birthday. I can’t wait.
    My gran and grandfather came over from England about 7 years before I was born. I sure miss all those Christmas lunches (even if they were held in Cairns December heat!). xxx

    • Its completely aweful, the disease, everything about it. I’m so glad your going to spend time with your grandfather, he and all your clan will love it, cherish it. No matter what temp we have the full hot meal, my mum won’t have it any other way, and I am sure glad! xx

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