She was affectionately known as Tiny Granny, because she was absolutely tiny - about 4' 10" in her hey day, shorter by the time she died -but the humanist 'celebrant' who presided over her funeral, exaggerated when she said she was 4 foot, that really was a step too far.
She was sad that her last friend alive had dementia and couldn't speak to her any more, she was lonely, and ailing. She couldn't hear too well, she couldn't walk without a stick, or do her own shopping. It was only in the very last few months, that she had let somebody come in to fix her dinner - previously she had lived with my father for most of the week, and on her own, in London, for the rest, but after a recent spat of hospital visits, she had been living in London. For the past six months she had had to move out of her London flat, as the toaster had caught fire, and burnt the kitchen down. She hadn't been aware, it was the porter?concierge who lived in the basement, who had smelt the smoke.
The incident has made me think though: Should we really be constantly striving to prolong life? I'm not sure she enjoyed the last few years very much, and often said she had outlived herself. She spent a lot of time visiting doctors and going to hospital. She couldn't really hear, or read much any more. Each day, towards the end, was a struggle really. It was also very boring, I imagine and lonely.
I will miss her calling up, and calling me "dear" - no one calls me dear, it's a endearment from another era. She has lived a long life, through both wars and as the celebrant said at the humanist service, won a cup for elocution at school! How quaint.