Today, my gorgeous, kind, special Grandma went to heaven. Being mixed race, I had a 'Black Nanny' and a 'White Nanny'. I lived with my Black Nanny for a while when I was younger.
My sister and I still laugh about the funny things she did and said. She used to sing the wrong words to the songs on the radio, and she had a cat she called 'Simon-the-mimon'. I remember she would light the cooker with burning paper and then stamp out the flames with her toughened Caribbean foot. I thought that was magic!
She loved to care for people, it's what she did. She was never happier than when she was fussing over you or cooking you a yummy Caribbean feast. But she was no push-over; if Black Nanny told you to do something, you did it! I'm not sure what she would have done if you didn't - we never got that far!
She and my Granddad (James) were inseparable. Nanny's name was Matilda but Granddad called her 'Mitty'. They were really popular in the neighbourhood and on a Saturday the house would be full of people. The men would come to play dominoes with Granddad in the back room and the women would come to chat and buy Nanny's bread and beautiful cakes. Granddad died some 25years ago and she was lost without him. By the end I don't even think she remembered he had ever existed - that killed me.
This past summer I took the kids to see her. The little ones don't know her very well because we were in Canada for most of their short lives. I just wanted them to remember her, as I suspected she wouldn't be here for much longer. She was frail and cantankerous - so unlike herself . But they got to feel the most precious thing in the world; the magical feeling of her incredibly soft cheek against theirs. I will miss her, but I hold that memory of her velvety cheek against mine and I'm so grateful to have had her in my life.
I hope that she is in heaven with Granddad, baking bread and holding court with their old friends.