Katie, The Able Label's Founder, recently interviewed her 93 year old grandfather about her grandmother who had Parkinson’s and is sadly no longer around. Before she passed away, they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary together. He is not in the slightest bit an old romantic but the interview melted all our hearts!
|Katie's grandpa and grandma together|
Q. How did you meet grandma?
A. Your grandmother had just got back from America where she went to be an au pair and was very home sick at the start. A mutual friend got a group of us together and we were introduced, instantly getting on. We spent two years courting before we got married. I couldn’t have asked for a better wife.
Q. What impact did grandma have on your life?
A. My first wife died when your dad was only twelve. This was very hard especially with three boys to care for. But after meeting your grandma, she just fitted in and raised the boys as if they were her own without ever trying to replace their mother. We didn’t rush anything wanting to see how it all worked out but life with her just got better and better. We had the most wonderful holidays together which I will never forget.
Q. How did you propose to grandma?
A. Your grandma wanted a future to look forward to together and that meant marriage. So eventually I built up the courage and asked her ‘how about getting married?’ and she instantly replied, ‘yes, I’d love to!’ I didn’t get down on my hands and knees or anything like that.
Q. When did you notice something wasn’t right with grandma?
A. I saw her hand tremor when she sat next to me in the chair one evening. I told her to keep it still but she couldn’t, even after holding it. I took her to the doctors but it was difficult to diagnose. Only when the Parkinson’s developed to a point where her speech was affected did she get a diagnosis with a specialist saying, ‘you’ve got Parkinson’s disease my dear’.
Q. How did your life change together?
A. Dementia started kicking in. She was forgetting a lot of straightforward things. Did things she never did before, silly things. I had to put her to bed each night. She’d wake up at 2am thinking someone was at the door, or that she’d left the lights on - I knew then her memory was going. But we worked together and muddled through as best we could. She used to start doing the veg and not complete them, so I’d finish them off.
As the Parkinson’s progressed, sometimes she wouldn’t say a word, which was tough. Other times, I’d tell her how much I loved her and she would reply, ‘I know you do you silly old fool’ and I knew Sheila was still there.
Q. What will you always remember grandma for?
Without a doubt her love of clothes – she had wardrobes full and some things she’d never even worn! She wouldn’t buy anything cheap and cheerful, it had to be good quality. She knew good clothes and particularly loved dresses. I used to tell her, ‘you’re worse than the Queen’ as she never seemed to wear anything twice! Twice a month, she’d go on shopping trips with her friend Molly and always came back loaded with bags!
I will never forget one floral dress she had – she looked stunning in it. It stands out in my memory more than anything. When I think of her, I think of her wearing that dress.
It makes me so proud that you share her love of clothes and especially that you are doing clothes that would help people in the same situation she was in. She desperately wanted to keep her style but became unable to dress into it. She would have been equally as proud and would have loved The Able Label clothes.
This Valentines Day, spare a thought for those who have lost loved ones and cherish the moments you do have with your loved ones.