Belonging

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.

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31 Comments

  1. I’m very sorry for your loss. My thoughts are with you and your family.

    I’m glad to hear that you received so much kindness, from your husband, your friends and even your Osteopath! There’s nothing like the feeling of a loving and supportive network of family and friends, is there?

    xxx
    Abby´s last Post ..where in the world My Profile

  2. Hi nice to meet you. Jody here. (Came through Sticky Fingers). I am so sorry for your loss; what an amazing person your Nan was. Your recount is really beautiful and makes me feel right back in Ireland again…

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by 🙂 Ireland is a wonderful country, I love going there the people are wonderful xx

  3. Loved the piece you wrote about Nan, she certainly livesd a full life (she was 97 BTW, lol) we were told stories about how she was almost arrested at 1.30am, tipsy, whilst travelling around following Daniel O’Donnel, she and another 80 odd year old friend had been taking cuttings from a private garden, lol

    1. My maths is rubbish! Of course she would have been 98 in October. Bless her that’s the Nan I remember, still having adventures even in her 80s 🙂 Love to you xxx

  4. I am sorry for your loss! Your nan must have been quit the woman.

    To me my partner, family and friends are the backbone of my life. I realized that I needed them even more after my mom passed away.

    I am glad that your back is a bit better now!
    Marianne´s last Post ..today I ♡My Profile

  5. I follow your blog and do the unforgivable and don’t comment but your post brought tears to my eyes, not only about your nan, but about where home is. We relocated up north, me from Cornwall and from the Netherlands for my husband. While I long to move closer to family particlularly at the moment when both my mum and his are ill, I realise how much home is where I am now.
    northern mumblings´s last Post ..the perennial questionMy Profile

    1. Thank you so much for you comment, it means a lot x I’m glad you have your ‘Home’ and I really hope both your mothers are better soon xx

  6. Losing a loved one…no matter the age is always hard. Sounds like your “Nan” was a beautiful person.
    It’s times like these that we find out how dear our friends can be and what a blessing to have them.
    glad you are doing better.
    Home really is about those we care about and who care about us.
    Hugs
    teresa´s last Post ..All By myself-My Profile

  7. Massive hugs. 98 is a wonderful age though and I’m sure you have many memories of her but I know it doesnt make it any easier. xxx

  8. Aw honey, what a week! 🙁

    Sounds like your Nan was a fantastic lady – so sorry for your loss – but I met she’s smiling down proudly on you & your lovely family.

    Hope this week is full of lots of better stuff xx
    missleslieanne´s last Post ..The Gallery- One WordMy Profile

  9. That’s really sad about your nan Liz but 🙂 to your moment of clarity. Hugs and I hope the back is continuing to improve.

    Sadly I had the opposite feeling this week. I stuffed up quite badly to do with school. Don’t get me wrong, I know I did and I’m sorting it out. But you know how you just ‘know’ everyone is talking about it. I’ve only had one, one single, expression of support from a mum who I wouldn’t actually have counted in my inner circle. It was totally out of character for me but it seems like all the good stuff I’ve done/do suddenly doesn’t count 🙁 People just feel the need to share my moment of human fraility but not in a good way.

    1. Oh Lesley ((HUGS)) I’m so sorry to hear you’ve had such a bad week. I’m sure it wasn’t that bad you’re one of the nicest people I know and everyone has a moment or two where they lose it. Hopefully by next week it’ll all be forgotten and they’ll all move on to the next bit of gossip. It sounds like you’ve made a friend though, even if you didn’t realise it before. Sending you love and hugs xxx