When Canesten invited me to take part in their #SheHelped campaign, and share a personal story about an amazing woman from my life, I didn’t hesitate to get involved. One lady will always shine through the rest, the brightest star in the sky.
To say that she was incredible would be an understatement. When my Grandfather was killed in an horrific car accident while they were living in the States, my Grandma – who was six months pregnant with their sixth child – came back to the UK to raise her family alone. She was ousted by her in-laws, because in their bitter grief they blamed her for ‘making him go to America’. She worked full time to ensure there was always a roof overhead, and food on the table.
Although there were thirteen grandchildren, I know that she had a soft spot for me, and we shared a very special bond. When things were rough at home, I’d pack a little bag and say I was ‘running away to Grandma’s’. I used to sleep over at her house regularly, and she would spoil me rotten with her amazing food and warm affections. Over time my memories have become blurry, but I clearly remember her cooking. She used to make soul-warming chicken soup that could disappear a cough or sniffle after one mouthful. Her desserts were divine, and there was always plenty of peanut butter in the cupboard because she knew the grandchildren loved it on toast.
Over the years many people have asked me how I managed to end up so ‘normal’ after my severely dysfunctional start in life. I have no doubt that it was because of my Grandma’s influence.
One day when I was seven or eight years old we were at her house and my step-father pulled up outside in his car. My mother went out to see him, cue lots of shouting and crying. Then she came back inside and made me go out to the street to say goodbye because ‘daddy was going to kill himself’. He had a shot gun in the passenger seat and was absolutely paralytic drunk. He didn’t go through with it, and it was my Grandma who picked up all the pieces as she usually did back then.
During my childhood, down was up and right was left, but my Grandma was my stability. Unfortunately cancer took her away from me when I was eleven. I’ve often wondered if my life would have turned out differently had she stuck around for longer. What I do know for sure, is that my early years were enriched by her presence. I was lucky to have her, even if she did leave too soon.
Share your own story of being inspired by an amazing woman for your chance to win a £75 John Lewis Gift Voucher!
**Disclaimer: this post has been supported by Canesten, but all thoughts are my own. Click here for my full disclosure policy.**
“Canesten are helping women around the world, providing education and solutions for their intimate health. We are helping those women who are less fortunate than most of us. That is why we wanted to support, in any way we could, refugee women affected by the Middle East crisis who are living in sub-standard conditions in camps and settlements in various countries. So we offered a substantial donation of Canesten thrush products (around £320,000 worth) to International Health Partners, Europe’s largest charity coordinator that organises the safe and responsible donation of medical products and supplies to developing countries.”