Bit of a sensitive post for me but it’s something I need to write it down.
This week was a week for saying goodbye to a beautiful lady who has been a big part of my life… my Nan.
Although there were many tears, we were all reminded about what an amazing person my Nan was and how relentlessly selfless she had been all of her life. Never has a birthday or Christmas gone by where I haven’t had a card from her, regardless of how self-involved I was in my own life. Never has she judged me for any of my choices or held grudges when I hadn’t visited as much as probably should have. But above all never did she turn her back on her family… we always came first. I heard stories of how she would sit in the kitchen eating sugar sandwiches ensuring that any proper food in the house was given to her 3 boys and how they would often have to do things like water down the milk to make it last longer. She had little money but at the same time she didn’t want or need anything else but her family.
I had a conversation with my other Nanna today which struck a cord with me. She was talking about when she was younger explaining that things were hard and they had little money. Not ‘little money’ as in that she couldn’t afford to replace a broken TV, I mean little money as in scraping by to keep the house warm and food on the table. But she didn’t look upon these times in a bad way, she said people were actually much happier then. No one had debts or credit cards and people bought what they could afford with the money they already had. I think the point she was getting at is that people nowadays work so hard dreaming about what they don’t have, they forget to enjoy what they do have. I for one am guilty of this.
A lot of the stories my dad shared about my Nan, grandad and their 3 sons were about them being together. Not all were sweetness and light, some were painful and some were shockingly funny but they were moments and memories they shared as a family. That’s what’s important and so easily forgotten. It’s been such a sad week and they haven’t had the easiest journey but they have so much to smile about. I’ve learnt this week that life isn’t just about the happy times and the belongings we gather along the way… Life is a combination of events that make us who we are so I intend to stop chasing and start living a bit more.
I wanted to try and describe to you who my Nan was but couldn’t find the words that do my Nan justice better than my dad did at the funeral, so he has so kindly allowed me to share his:
“Who was my Mam?
She lived her whole life for her family – my late Dad (Andy); me, Andrew and the late Steven; her grandchildren and latterly her great grandchildren.
She loved games, competitions, jigsaws.
She could often be seen at bingo.
She shared a love of music with my Dad.
She loved shopping. She often brought us rather ‘unusual’ gifts.
She loved TV.
She loved films, especially old ones.
More importantly, my Mam epitomised what a good person should be
She was absolutely selfless. I have been very fortunate in that I have had 2 people in my life
who share this trait. This is probably the reason Mam got on so well with my wife, Barbara.
Mam was always there for all of us – even in adversity.
She taught us manners, respect, humility, forgiveness, happiness, cleanliness and fairness.
She taught us right from wrong and to put people before money.
She was a loving person – she hated confrontation.
She had the upmost levels of Honesty and Integrity – a trait she shared with Dad which we have all tried to follow with our own families. I honestly can’t remember ever having a cross word with my mam, although I’m sure I tried her patience many times.
All this despite a background of having little money throughout most of her life.
Mam was a very quiet person who didn’t have many friends outside her family. She stayed every week at my house on Sunday and Andrews on Friday and we often saw her during the week. She lived with my other brother Steven until his sad death. She was well visited at hospital and I thank all of the people that attended both hospital and today. I’m grateful that she died knowing that we all cared deeply for her.
My mam was a truly remarkable person who I will never, ever forget. The circumstances surrounding her passing makes it that much harder to deal with but we must have the strength to overcome this.
The world is a poorer place for your loss. You will be sadly missed by all in this room.
Well mam. You’re now reunited with Dad and Steven and one day we’ll also be re-united.
Until then God Bless and Rest in Peace. I love you Mam.”
Goodnight Nanna, they just don’t make them like you anymore xxx