• Dawn Ford

My Dear Gran's Cushion Keepsake

Updated: Jan 16



January 2018

In the early hours of Wednesday 8th November 2017, my dear, dear, lovely Gran peacefully passed away. She was 105 years old and she was such an incredible character. A Legend quite literally! She had lived independently right-up until she needed hospital intervention in the autumn, then a short period was spent living in a residential rehabilitation centre and sadly a nursing home followed that. She was only in the nursing home for 10 days before she died.

This was a lady who loved football, Brian Clough and Nottingham Forest were her heroes. I have fond memories of my unique 70year old Gran; with her full size poster of a Queen's guardsman on the back of the kitchen door and Boy George staring right back on the other side. She loved hats, especially berets and had the best legs I had ever seen. She would have loved to of been on the stage - glamorous, witty and she loved to be the centre of attention. One of my fondest memories is of her dancing on the dance floor at my 40th birthday party, when she was 93! She threatened to leave by 9pm and was still there enjoying it all at midnight. She was incredible!


After she died I helped my mum and aunty clear out the flat of her clothes and other personal belongings I asked if I could have her an item of clothing or two to keep. I chose a green cardigan and a purple blouse. Other items and belongings were sorted - family relatives chose what they wanted and all the other items, if they were useful, were donated to charity shops.


At home I began deconstructing the 2 items of clothes. I was so nervous, but I absolutley loved the cushion keepsake, it evoked so many cherished memories of my Gran. What really struck me was the tenderness in which I 'did up' the buttons on her blouse. It was almost like the tenderness you would use to dress a newborn baby. I wasn't expecting that.


On finishing I automatically placed one of my favourite photographs in one of the pockets, which coincidently depicted her wearing the very same purple blouse. Whilst looking around for ribbons and trims I found the guardsman ribbon, which I added to my lavender bag, which sits snugly in her other pocket, another sentimental reminder of earlier years and her flat.


The lavender bag..... One of my earliest memories of spending time with my dear lovely gran was in the school holidays, I was probably 12 years old. I can recall very clearly, sitting down beneath the window at an ottoman in her spare bedroom, surrounded by fabric remnants, pins, needles & cottons, sewing. Yes, my dear lovely Granny taught me to sew, and this memory is of making lavender bags for my mum as a gift to take back home. I loved those little bags full of lavender from her garden. So it was another natural response to make a small lavender bag to place in the pocket along with her photograph.


At the end of the night I had finished my dear Gran's cushion... I couldn't believe the automatic, utterly natural response - I cried. Hugging the cushion was like hugging my Gran. They were tears of love. I have tears gently falling now as I finish this piece of writing. These are not just cushions, or scarves etc. These Bespoke Keepsakes are so much more. To be loved and cherished forever.