The last day of school. Grandma was visiting and mum allowed us to stay home instead of joining in the last day of school festivities.
The morning didn't start off well.
My brother and I had been playing outside on the playground we had industriously made ourselves. It was wet from the night's rain and as my brother ran along one of the logs he slipped and fell, trying to cushion his fall with his arm that was weak from a previous break. His arm cleanly snapped in almost the same place as last time. Mum, not wishing to take all five children to the emergency room, called Dad home from work. Dad came and took my brother to the hospital.
I don't remember when, but at some point during the day, my brother came back home.
Grandma announced she was going to take a nap because she wasn't feeling well. The rain had stopped, so Mum suggested that she take us all outside to play. This may have been mostly for Grandma's benefit now that I think about it. At the last minute Grandma decided to take a bath first.
I ran back in to the house. I fish around in my memories to find the reason why, but there's never any reason why I was in the house alone.
My reason took me past the bathroom downstairs.
I stopped to listen after hearing an unusual sound coming from the other side. I was puzzled. The only reason I could conjure for the noise was a pig in the bathroom with Grandma.
I shook my head. My eight year old brain knew that just was not possible. But there was the noise again. It was the only explanation.
I began to run. "MUM! There's a pig in the bathroom with Grandma!!!!"
Another hole appears in my memory. Mum must have believed me and ran to the bathroom to investigate.
Grandma had locked the bathroom door. The noises continued and Mum frantically tried to beat down the door with her fist, yelling to her mother. As she tried to unlock the door with whatever tool she could find my Mum asked me to help my older brother climb up the outside bathroom wall to look through the window.
I ran out with my brother. We scrabbled at the wall but couldn't reach the window and called out to advise Mum of the situation.
We hurried back in. Mum had managed to unlock the bathroom door and we see Grandma laying unconscious in the bath tub. A quick phone call to the ambulance and Mum is back in the bathroom cradling my naked Grandmother.
Grandma regained consciousness for a few moments and was able to talk to my Mum. My own memory can not tell you what was said in that moment, but I know that Mum was able to tell us later that Grandma had finished her bath, become dizzy and disoriented and stepped back in the bath. Once back in the empty bath tub, Grandma slipped and knocked her head on the side.
I have always been ashamed of this next part of my memory.
As Mum cradled Grandma she asked my brother and I to stand out on the main road to flag down the ambulance. Our house was located on a service road running parallel with the main road. Although the service road was separate to the main road, it still owned the main road name. Thus confusing any visitor driving to our home for the first time.
This is why we needed to stand on the main road. We both said we didn't want to. I was too embarrassed to stand on the main road and wave frantically at an ambulance. While my Grandmother lay dying, I was Too Embarrassed.
Grandma was taken to the hospital after suffering a major heart attack. I only visited once but it seemed Grandma was no longer Grandma. Several days later her children decided to let her go. I have many good memories of Grandma that I am sure I will share over the course of my 500 days. This memory, however, had the biggest impact on my life.
My mother never let us lock a door in any home again.
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