For those that don’t know my beautiful Nan passed away on the 2nd April 2020.
Any of you that knows me personally knows that I have always been a Nanny’s girl and I worshiped her. My Mum tells me that I am a lot like my Nan, she tells me that one of my greatest talents is shutting down during a disaster and getting on with picking the pieces up just like Nanny did. Well… this is one disaster that I really cannot do this with. Losing my Nan makes me feel like a huge piece of me is missing. One of my pillars of strength is gone and I don’t know if I can bear this pain.
One of the most difficult parts of this is the fact that the UK has now taken social-distancing measures to battle the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19). Meaning my family can’t do the one thing that we naturally do whenever we’ve taken a huge hit like this, we can’t bundle into our cars and rush to each other’s sides. This is the hardest thing we’ve ever had to do. Grieve separately for the one woman we can all say we gave our whole hearts to and depended on for everything. Knowing that my Mum is on her own in her flat with her dog, is tearing me apart. Knowing I can’t rush to her and help her with everything is so hard.
I’ve cried every day since I received the news. Saturday (the 4th) I had a massive tension headache. On the 5th of April I came home from work at 10:30pm and cried myself to sleep, after desperately searching for the blanket she had made me. At 11pm I was rummaging through my airing cupboard and knocked down a shelf because I HAD to have that blanket and cried myself to sleep cuddling it. I’ve kept it by or on me at home since I found it. On the Monday I felt like it wasn’t enough and dug out the cot bumper she made for me and used it as a body pillow the first night after I found it – It is now tied to the foot of my bed.
My Nan was a wonderful person, she was funny, adventurous, active, crafty, kind, generous, a great cook, and had time for everyone. She was the strongest woman I knew. She was fierce and stubborn. She had loved and lost three partners, Colin, Cliff and John. All of whom were good men but I honestly felt they didn’t deserve her.
I grew up very close to my Nan and I lived with her for a while during my teenage years as I was a bit too much for my Mum to handle at the time. She was strict and I pushed my boundaries and her buttons, but I loved her completely. She took me line dancing, she had me over for regular sleep overs, she was my confidante. She used to make awesome blackberry pie, cauliflower cheese, lasagne and Sunday roasts. Her chocolate oil cake was something to DIE for!! All of which are my comfort foods now. She always used to look at me funny when I’d just sit there dipping sausages in horseradish while watching TV.
I loved playing all of her records, dancing about with her to all sorts of 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and classical music. I always used to complain that she’d only listen to Radio 2 and regularly changed it to Fox FM when she was out of the room – I always got told off for that! I think she just had a thing for Terry Wogan!! I used to love climbing out of her bedroom window onto the flat roof of her kitchen with a blanket, a battery powered radio and a book and hiding up there most of the day watching her tidy her garden or tend to the vegetable patch.
She was so proud of me when I became an Army Cadet and came to cheer me on at all of my Rememberance Parades and events that I got involved in.
We went on amazing days out and had some really funny moments, like when the speedo gave up on her car while we were driving to a Line Dance Disco in the snow and we had to guess what speed we were doing the whole way there and back. I always used to tell her off for driving with her foot resting on the clutch. She wasn’t the best driver and cars didn’t do too well with her. I remember she let me, my sister and our boyfriends at the time drive that old car around the fields at the back of the farm in Oxfordshire before she sent it to the scrappy.
She was always there. She was the rock of our family. She’s left a huge hole that will never be filled in all of our lives and hearts. I have had messages from friends at school or cadets telling me that they remember my Nan and hanging out with me at her house or bumping into her in town, they’d always have time for her.
As most of you know she was quite poorly. After a series of severe cluster seizures in November 2018 my Nan came around from and induced coma with a diagnosis of episodic epilepsy and rapid onset Alzheimer’s Dementia. We all knew she would never be the same woman again. The moment I realised I would lose her soon was Christmas 2019 when I visited her at the JR in Oxford with my Mum and my eldest son. The difference in her was shocking. She didn’t look like my Nan. This person in front of me was just a mere shadow of the woman she was. She was frail, stick thin, unkempt. Even on her worst days the Nan I knew would always try to take pride in her appearance. This vision in front of me wasn’t my Nan. I brushed her hair, cleaned her nails, talked about her teddies, read her cards from well wishers and she still didn’t recognise me. It wasn’t until towards the end of my visit that she said “Lynnie”. The whole visit I was just looking at her and searching for the woman I knew. All I saw was this frial, scared woman. My Nan would have hated what she had become, it was pretty much her worst nightmare to end up a frail old woman, depending on everyone else and losing her mind. She had watched too many people she cared for succumb to this fate and she always told me that she would dread becoming like that. I feel awful that there was nothing more I could do to prevent this happening to her.
That visit broke me. I drove back to my sister’s and cried. I sank into misery for the rest of the day and couldn’t bring myself back from it. I remember alcohol being thrust at me. Shortly after that visit I said to my Mum that I could pretty much guarantee we would be going to Nan’s funeral in 2020. I hate that I was right. I could kick myself for being right.
As part of the funeral arrangements my Mum has asked me if I’d write a letter to my Nan. I did. I’d like to share it as everything in it is information I’ve shared before.
My whole life you have been my person. The person who kept secrets I couldn’t tell my Mum. The person I’d run to when I needed to get away. I’ve always been Nanny’s girl. You bailed me out of so many tough situations and I never thought I’d ever be able to repay you. We always laughed and had fun. You always knew how to help me make the best of a bad situation and always asked the questions I was too scared to face.
I remember staying with you and finally gathering the courage to talk to you about my issues with my sexuality, you were the one person I felt I should tell and you just shrugged it off and asked if I wanted something to eat. You made that moment so unbelievably easy and normal. Coming out at 16 seemed like such a big deal to me and I was so worried I was going to upset you, but it wasn’t, you made it so easy.
I remember upsetting you later – when I became bit of a wandering wild child. I knew you didn’t understand what happened, I just broke. I’m so glad that things were okay after. I’m sorry I scared you after Simon left me, but I’m also so happy that you’ve seen me become the person you always told me I could be. I’m happy that you were able to see me become Alex’s wife and a mother! I’m glad you saw me settle down and start placing some roots. I’m glad I made you proud of me. Especially as you’re the person I’ve always felt I needed to prove myself to.
You’ve always been my superhero, I love you so much. Even Mum tells me that she sees so much of you in me. I’m proud of that. If I can be half the pillar of the family that you have been then I am happy.
Saying goodbye to you is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, and I’ve done a lot of scary things in my life… When Mum told me you had gone, I could feel my heart break in that moment. This sharp pain went through my chest and I felt everything get tight and my hands started shaking. I’m not ready to live in a world without my hero in it. I’m going to miss you so much but I know you’re not in pain anymore. I know you’re no longer in a broken mind. You’ve found your way out of the purgatory you were stuck in. In a way I’m happy for you. I’m angry, heartbroken and sad, but I’m happy too. I think that’s okay?
I will always be Nanny’s girl.
I love you,
I miss you,
I will learn to bear this pain.
My love always…“
That’s it for today. Love to you all!
Keep safe and don’t forget to follow the rules laid out by your governments. Covid-19 will leave eventually, we’ve just got to wait it out.
The Anxious Pixie xx