Three weeks after I was born, my mum had a stroke at the age of 24. My gran took care of us, nursed my mum back to health and independence and was the most gentle, loving wee woman I've ever encountered. She was, to my mind, a "proper" gran - she sang, she baked, she told me stories. She was always conscious of losing her memory, having cared for her own mother who developed dementia, and prayed that it would never happen to her. Unfortunately her prayers weren't answered and in 2009, she started wandering at night. My mum took her in and we cared for her for over 2 years until Gran's health started fading. She no longer recognised us, and her speech was deserting her. Watching her slip away was heartbreaking. Every once in a while, I could swear there was a flash of recognition in her eyes and she would smile, but it was impossible not to grieve for such a vibrant wee woman who eventually succumbed to her illness on October 31st 2011 (my late Grandad's birthday). I'd like to think her timely exit was deliberate, if only to console myself with the notion that she hadn't been robbed of every memory she ever had.