tatty doll

My Grandmother's Doll Just Licked Me

My grandmother died a few weeks back at the ripe old age of 85, passing away peacefully in her sleep. By all accounts, she lived a damn good life, and I tried my very best to make it so. Lord knows she did the same for me.

This has been a difficult post for me to write. You see, when a treasured loved one dies, especially one that you grew up with, the little solar system of your life is thrown completely out of orbit. Not that mine was ever all that stable in the first place.

My parents died in a car accident when I was two years old, and I was a little too young at the time to fully absorb the emotional impact of being orphaned. When the prospect of being put into the foster system was brought up by the family lawyer, grandma took me in without a second thought. Her home was our home; it’s where I built my childhood.

Honestly, you’d never meet a more charitable woman than my grandma. From the second I came into her life, all the way up to her death (and even beyond) she’s provided for me without fail.

Another interesting thing about grandma is the fact she was mute. I’m not talking about selective mutism here, I’m talking full-blown, constant silence. I’ve known that woman for my entire 32 years of life, and while I got used to it within a few months, to some it seems crazy that I never heard a word from her.

Of course, we had our own ways of communicating back then. I picked up sign language pretty quickly, as kids tend to, and she always used to write on this little chalk board for me. I thought it was awfully cute at the time.

I got a call from her lawyer a few days after she passed, telling me she’d left her entire estate to me in her will. It doesn’t matter how well you know a person, that kind of thing always hits you deep: everything that wasn’t covered by her donor card now belonged to me.

A week or two passed, some papers were signed, and money changed hands.  The wheels of bureaucracy turned slowly as ever, as my grandma’s possessions became my possessions, and some eager patients became happy recipients of grandma’s remarkably healthy liver, kidneys, and lungs.

Like I said, she was the giving type.

The home was an old Georgian place: two storeys, three bedrooms, and a well-maintained garden. I felt like a kid who just got a pony for Christmas. The problem was, I’m not a rich enough guy to pay the rent on an apartment and a house, and I’m not such a heartless bastard that I’d immediately sell my childhood home either – especially on this bipolar property market.

I was speaking to a good friend of mine about it over a few drinks, and it was his idea to convert it into a rental property. I mulled it over when I was sober, of course, but my office job wasn’t going anywhere, so I decided that being a landlord might be a welcome change of pace.

That was when things started to go downhill.

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