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At first it wasn’t clear whether her health would continue its rapid deterioration or plateau, so there was a good deal of trying to get systems in place to enable her to continue living by herself, in her own home in Addingham, West Yorkshire, as independently as possible.
To supplement the care her own family could provide, she had up to four visits a day from nurses and care assistants from the Airedale Collaborative Care Team (ACCT), an NHS agency whose staff recorded daily observations on her health. Grandma was a pretty extraordinary woman: idiosyncratic, plain-spoken, down to earth and pithy. She wanted to ask questions about how Grandma had died, which we dealt with easily enough.
She was admitted to hospital for the first time in her life and when she came out, in mid-February, three weeks before she died, she had a big box of pills, an oxygen machine and a thick file of medical notes.
Though it’s impossible to tell how long this particular story has been with us, the victim-turned-robber motif has appeared in urban legends since the early 1900s.
The reaction most of us have to this legend nowadays is likely a pleasant chuckle at the humor of an inadvertent mix-up and at the thought of a crusty old gray-haired, pistol-wielding broad scaring the daylights out of a bunch of (innocent) men.
In our case, the coroner eventually signed off the death as caused by lung disease with no fuss and no post mortem, leaving us free, a couple of days later, to continue with arrangements as we pleased. A simple visit from the GP was all we’d have needed.
The funeral was beautiful; a bright, sunny day at Skipton crematorium; a coffin woven from Somerset willow covered in spring flowers and a cheery lunch afterwards overlooking Ilkley Moor.
As she was leaving, she noticed several security guards and honked and waved to get their attention.