Christmas stockings and a girl called Joyce……

weeny stocking for weeny sized bears

When me and my sisters were growing up we had the excellent good fortune to know a lovely lady called Mrs Ellis….she’d turn up on her bike with the front basket so laden up with all sorts of vegetables and flowers from her garden, apples from where she’d go apple picking, mushrooms from the meadows…a glut of asparagus in the Spring….she was always cheerful and had a smile, you really couldn’t feel miserable or downhearted in her company.  As I got I older I moved away from the Suffolk village I grew up in and came to live in Norfolk but I’d often go see her and her husband, as soon as I walked down their path the back door would open and there they would stand, waving and beaming to see me, their kitchen was the cosiest place in the world….it was just like having an extra set of grandparents and really even I don’t have the words to express how wholly fond of them I was…

Sadly a few years ago,that hazy mist of dementia took hold of her and her mind become all muddled so she had to go into a home and before long she became Joyce, the girl she’d once been and very quickly quite clear forgot her adult life….she’d always been so delighted and impressed at seeing things I’d been sewing or crocheting and over the years I hand made many presents for her and her husband, it was always so lovely to go visit them and see my makes, some very old and sun faded in their kitchen or other rooms of their home….the pleasure of seeing handmade never left her though and even on days when she was very confused a lavender heart I made her was straight away stroked against her face, stitches inspected and lavender smelt…..

hand embroidered Christmas stockings

So the other year while she was in the care home I embroidered a stocking for one of my oldest friends, even though she no longer could remember my name she still had a smile for me when I’d go visit and would reach up and touch my cheek….

I filled the stocking with all the things I thought she might have had when she was little, some brightly foil wrapped sweets, a few chocolate coins, a couple of satsumas,tiny puzzle games….. she was entranced, she slowly traced the letters I’d embroidered with her fingertips and said “that’s my name” …and even though it broke my heart to see this incredible and so inspiring, capable woman all befuddled she made me smile at being happy and together we laughed trying to do the puzzle games……

joyce 004

If you are a long time reader of my blog then you know my dear friend passed away earlier this year and with thoughts of her I’d like to offer someone the chance of a personalised stocking…if you know someone who has been affected with dementia or any ill health, someone who needs a little cheering up then please just leave a comment below and I’ll do a draw on Friday evening around 8 pm.  Due to me leaving this rather a bit late I don’t think the stocking will reach you in time if you live overseas so this is for UK residents only.

ETA This giveaway is now finished……

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13 thoughts on “Christmas stockings and a girl called Joyce……

  1. What lovely memories you have of Joyce 🙂 I’d love to win a stocking for my mum, Patricia, (her best friend was Joy) as sh’es suffered almost all her life with illness, starting with scarlet fever, and now with rheumatoid arthritis and a pacemaker. Your stocking would remind her of her childhood as it has a lovely nostalic/vintage look to it, which I love

  2. Sadly I would have said my mum too, but she passed away last year. At the end I was making the long journey just to snatch some quality time with her and I felt she had become the child and I the mother as I checked in on her at night to change her or helped her in the bathroom. She had a bell which she would ring and thought it very amusing when both her carer and I came into her room. I was glad I shared her last Christmas with her. She had her stocking all filled but I think a vintage style of stocking would have really touched her. She instilled in me a sense of wonder and magic at Christmas and if I were to win the stocking it would remind me of her, someone who lived to the great age of 96!

  3. This is such a lovely story, it has brought tears to my eyes! My darling dad has dementia and is now in a nursing home as it was no longer possible for my mother to care for him at home. Over the last few days he has struggled to remember our names, although still does if you give him the first letter. It is heartbreaking to see someone who was always so capable and creative reduced to sitting in a chair having to be fed.

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