Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Letter To My Dearest Grandparents

I wrote this a while ago, and posted it on an older blog. I've just been reading over it again...so I decided to share it with you again, so my new followers can read it. This is the most personal post I'll ever write, I'm sure.

I've been contemplating this for a few days and I wasn't sure if I wanted to do it... 
It's been on my mind and I've been putting it off.
But it's almost 2am and it's quiet, so why not... 

To my wonderful Nanny and Grandad,

If I'm honest, I don't know how I've coped without you both. I miss you both like crazy...
I remember when we would pop over for a visit, us kids would be pushing and shoving to get to the door first. Then we had to wait for you, Nanny, to come out in your big shoe! Bless you, we used to giggle at it and you'd giggle with us. We knew you slipped on a banana skin when you were 7 and had to wear a big shoe. But we still giggled, you didn't mind. When you answered the door, we would rush in, give you a kiss and a hug and run into the living room, where Grandad was doing puzzles. We'd give him a kiss and a hug and run out to the back porch... There was the most AWESOME swing EVER, which Grandad had made. That's what we were in such a rush for. We all took turns on the swing, but, being kids, we all wanted to get there first. We couldn't do much when Bear, the dog, came into the porch. He wanted to play so we'd play out the back or out the front with him. He was such a gorgeous dog, but getting old. 

Another very fond memory I have, as I got older, was turning up with my mam and little brothers for a visit. Grandad, you would give us money to get sweets in the shop around the corner. We'd come back and the boys would play on the swing, and I'd sit on the sofa doing puzzles with you. If I didn't know it, you'd help me and then when I got the answer, you'd pat me on the back and say "see, you do know it". We would sit for hours doing puzzles while my mam and Nanny sat in the kitchen, yapping away and drinking endless cups of tea. When we were gone, you'd flick through the newspaper while Nanny did puzzles in her crossword book.

One night, Nanny, you asked me did I want to stay over. I decided I did, but when I went upstairs, I kept my eyes closed. On the landing wall, you had the biggest, freakiest picture ever. It was of a young girl, crying. It had an eerie feel to it and none of us kids liked it; it scared us. I stayed that night and as we were near a main road, I could hear cars all night and the street-lights flooded into the room. The thought of that picture right outside my room was terrifying. I missed home and spent hours crying. Now, I'd give anything to have another moment with you both.

Some years back, Bear died. You were both devastated, because he was there for so many years and it gave you both something to do, looking after him. You were kept busy though, as there were grandkids, nieces, nephews and children going to see you both. Time passed and we didn't see you both as much, as we had moved to another part of the country. We still saw you, just not as much. Then, in August 2006, my aunt died. It tore you both apart, as it was your daughter. She didn't have an illness; it was a stupid hospital mistake, which made it worse. I think it hit you especially hard, Grandad. You were in bits. In April 2007, you passed away. I'll never forget it when my mam told me. She had to ring as I was 5 hours away. I was on the way to Tesco with my boyfriend. My mam told me and I fell to my knees in the middle of the street and screamed. I couldn't stop crying for days on end. You had died of a heart attack. I think you literally died of a broken heart... 

When we went to visit, we would miss you sitting in your spot on the sofa (it was basically your sofa, Nanny sat in her armchair!), I'd miss doing puzzles with you, miss your tight hugs and stubbly kisses on my cheek. Missed you calling out to Nanny in the kitchen, 'Rita, pop the kettle on love!'. When you were in a mood, you would call her Margaret. It was her real name, but she was always known as Rita. When you were gone and we went to see Nanny, we would ask if she was okay. Silly question, I know. She would say 'Ah yeh, I'm fine'. We know it was heartbreaking for her, you were her soulmate. She'd try to stay strong, but sometimes, we'd catch her looking at your seat. She'd notice us looking at her and she'd just shake her head and say 'I do miss the oul'fella pottering around the house.' She used to ALWAYS call you the oul'fella. Of course she missed you, she had spent decades with you. In January 2010, I got a tattoo in your memory on my shoulderblade. It says 'I'll See You Again'. I know I will, I know you're up there waiting for me, puzzle book at the ready!

In December of 2010, Nanny, we got a call to say you were in hospital. You'd had some strokes in your sleep and my cousin had found you. We thought you would be okay... My mam, me and my aunt went to see you on January 6th this year. I'll never forget as I walked into the ward and saw you. You didn't look like my Nanny at all. You were so skinny and your eyes had kind of sunken in. I took some pictures to remember you by, and I'm glad I did. I have something to remember you by. I wanted to cry but I didn't, I kept strong for my mam. We rubbed moisturiser into your hands and brushed your hair. You loved your hair being played with and your hands kept soft. We talked to you but you couldn't respond. You had some brain damage, caused by the strokes. We stayed with you for hours, and all the while, we tried not to cry. I saw my mam gulping hard a few times, to stop herself from crying. It was heartbreaking. I can't imagine what it would be like to lose my mam. She's my whole world. You were her whole world... We left the hospital that evening, not knowing if we would see you again.

We went back up to you the next day. You seemed much chirpier, you were sitting up a bit and you ate a spoonful of porridge. It was something. I held your hand and told you to squeeze it if you knew I was there and if you knew who I was. You gave me a tiny squeeze and I almost cried. I looked into your gorgeous green eyes and you gave me the smallest, yet most amazing smile ever. I was so happy, we all were. We thought you were getting better.

You went downhill again and we finally knew we were going to lose you. You wanted to be with Grandad and your daughter, and you didn't have any will to live, so we couldn't force you. It didn't make it any easier knowing that you would be gone soon. On February 17th, I looked at the clock at 8.10pm. Suddenly, I got a text from my brother. It said 'Nanny's dead :( '. He was there with you, he held your hand. Just two minutes before, he held the phone to your ear, and my mam had said 'I love you'. She was the last person to talk to you. When I read the text, the tears started flowing immediately. It was totally heartbreaking, but in a way, it was relief as you were where you wanted to be. You were with Grandad and your daughter, and you were finally at peace.

I'm not sure how I've coped without you both. I think about you constantly, but I know you're together again, where you belong. Nanny, I'm getting a tattoo in your memory soon. I have to decide exactly what yet, but I have a nice quote in mind. I miss you both like crazy, but I know I'll see you soon. I love you both more than words can express. You're both together again, so look after each other for me, and I'll see you on the other side...

Love always and forever,
Joanna ♥
x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

- And now, I'm glad I didn't know, the way it all would end, the way it all would go...
Our lives are better left to chance, I could have missed the pain, but I'd have had to miss the dance ♥

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