This last week has been a really hard one, which is why I’ve not really been on here. My Nan passed away in Ireland at the grand old age of 98 on Thursday. She started deteriorating suddenly last Monday night in hospital and I had a 48 hour window to try and get to Ireland to say goodbye. Despite hours on various websites I couldn’t get a last minute flight, and I had to accept that I couldn’t get there. I was so upset, but a lot of sensible people pointed out to me at least I’ll have the memories of her as she was funny, sassy and living her life as she wanted and not the shell of her that was leaving. I want to remember her as the woman who in her 80’s wanted to do a road trip across the US, the woman who loved her crafts and spent hours patiently trying to teach me crochet and knitting despite me being utterly useless. She taught me how to make a mean Irish Coffee, to cook Brac Cake and spent hours answering all my family history questions no matter how trivial.
I spent the whole of Friday putting on a brave face for Miss L’s birthday to make it her special day. Friday night I found out that the funeral was set for Sunday (they do it quickly in Ireland) and there was no way I could get there for that either.
Saturday I decided that I’d had enough and as I was going to take out my grief on the garden. I got an amazing amount done and I was feeling pretty good when I came back in. But I made the mistake of sitting down for a bit to have a coffee and when I went to get up I couldn’t! My back had locked up.
By Sunday morning I couldn’t move at all and it was hurting to breathe. The only problem was we were expecting 12 children to a birthday party for Miss L at the local bowling alley! Paul bless him said he could do the party on his own and he’d leave me in bed. Miss L gave me a kiss and just wanted me to be better and said she didn’t mind me not coming – which just made me cry even more by that point.
I texted a couple of friends and asked if they could help out – they were fabulous and within about 10 minutes 5 Mums from school were mobilised and offering to help out run the party – 12 kids bowling you need more than one person! I also got loads of texts and calls offering to do the school run for me this week, if I couldn’t drive.
I then texted my Osteopath to see if he had any appointments free on Monday morning, figuring he’d phone me Monday and probably say Tuesday. No he didn’t, he texted me back immediately and said he’d open the clinic at 2.30pm and he sort my back out for me then – on a SUNDAY! I couldn’t believe someone could be so generous as to give up their Sunday afternoon to prod me back into moving. Thankfully he worked his magic and although I’m sore, at least I can move and breathe again.
Last night I was talking to my parents and I had a moment of clarity. They were telling me about my Nan’s ‘Removal’, when they move the body from the funeral home to the church. 70 people were at the funeral home to pay their respects to Nan as she left and 30 – 40 were waiting at the church to greet her, the local flower arranging club had even filled the church with flowers from top to bottom in her honour.
She moved to Ireland with her husband, not knowing a soul 40 years ago to retire. And even though she’d not been able to get out and about for the last 10 years, but she still had over a hundred people that cared about her to come and pay their respects to her. She belonged there in her community and they all loved her, which is a massive comfort to us all.
When I put the phone down, I realised that we belong here. For years I’ve been treating living here as temporary stop gap before we go back to Surrey or off to Canada or where ever else I come up with. And despite living here for 8 years now, up until that moment I’d never really considered that we have so many good friends here or what a wrench it’d be to leave. The sheer amount of people who have offered to help us in the last week has been amazing. They are my friends and community now and I’m taking that as a last lesson from my Nan.