Goodbye Gran;Write away;TES Competition

18th June 1999 at 01:00
Junior winner Stephanie Cayzer, age 10, Liskeard Junior School, Cornwall

I was absolutely heartbroken. It was as if somebody had taken away part of my life, part of my history.I used to go there nearly every day of the week. We made egg and bacon quiches, picked flowers out of her small but beautiful garden. Then, as I grew older, I made up a bed on her two-seater settee, using her pillows and duvet from her single bed. I also used her settee cover, a beige-brown piece of cloth with fluffy material on one side. I attached it to the dark brown wooden trolley (which was in one corner of the room), stretched it over one of her chairs and rested it over the edge of the settee to use as the cover of a den. I covered up the entrance with a piece of sheeting. My den was furnished with gran's pillows and a lovely purple, covered with white flowers, duvet. One reason why I loved her is that we had a lot of fun. We did so many things together.

It started about the end of June, 1997. She had this awful nose bleed and did not go to the doctors for six to eight weeks and when she did go, the doctors thought it was a clot which could be easily removed, but further investigations showed it was a cancerous brain tumour.

After Christmas she had an operation to remove her tumour, in Derriford Hospital in Plymouth. Afterwards, for a few days, her nose and most of her face was covered in bandages. When I first saw her after the operation, I nearly burst into tears.

A little while after the operation, Gran came to the local hospital in Liskeard. She was there for a week or two before coming home for a while to spend time with her family (Mum, Dad and me).

I still went to visit her; we talked, we did a couple of crosswords together (in one of her many crossword books!) We also played Whist and watched some television. They were happy times but as days came and went, I could tell she would soon be dead; going to visit her was becoming more painful.

She then went back into the town hospital. It had not seemed so bad before as she had been in a room with other people but now she was in her own private room. At first she was awake when we went to see her but on Monday, the day before she died, she was sleeping like a baby. She was in a coma.

Then it happened, the thing I had been dreading most came true. Just after 4.35pm on Tuesday, March 24th, 1998, the hospital rang. Gran had died a few minutes earlier. I cried and cried and, when I went to bed, I cried again. What had Gran done to deserve such a horrid end?

I accompanied my parents to register gran's death and visit her one last time, in her coffin. She looked so small and peaceful. I just wanted to hug her.

The funeral, which happened the following Monday, was really sad but I know gran would have loved the flowers. I cried in the service and kept wishing I could bring her back, but now I realise that all the wishing in the world can't change anything.

Losing the one I love has changed my life the most. I still miss her. I love you, Gran.

* Stephanie found writing this piece "painful, but a bit helpful". She and her gran used to enjoy cooking and sewing together. Her teacher, Sandra Merry, used the "Write Away 2" booklet to teach autobiographical writing during the literacy hour. Then, her pupils built on the drafting done in class at home. Stephanie found the details were not difficult to remember "because things like that stay in your mind", but she did spend time re-drafting. Stephanie plays keyboards, writes stories for fun and enjoys reading, especially horror and adventure stories and books by Philip Pullman and Lisa Daniels. Sandra says she's a logical mathematician as well.

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