My Nan passed away today.
I don’t even know why I’m sharing this news. It definitely isn’t for sympathy or messages of condolence. In fact you can’t leave messages here and PLEASE don’t put anything on Facebook.
My own immediate thoughts were to put a post on Facebook, yet I’ve sometimes wondered why people announce such things to a bunch of ‘strangers’. Then I remembered that not everyone uses Facebook in the same way. Some people have a very well-kept friend list and so all of their status’ are meant to share news with their personal friends and family, whereas many in the music industry or clubbers in general have a massive group of people who they really have no connection to other than their taste in music or a venue they went to once in a blue moon. Anyway, I digress. I often add an “RIP” message to someone’s post if I see it, I see nothing wrong with posting news like this on Facebook. I just didn’t want to.
I’m just gonna empty my brain if I may.
In recent times, I haven’t seen my nan, for maybe 18 months now, it could even be much longer. She suffered from Alzheimer’s now for some years and wasn’t really herself the last time I did go to visit her in hospital, although she did have some of the woman I remember in her eyes. The following time I was back in the UK and asked when was good to visit, my mom (it was her mom) said that it wasn’t really worth going to see her as she wouldn’t know I was there. As my time in the UK is always fairly short, I didn’t take the decision not to go lightly, but at the same time I didn’t want to go and watch this woman that had been a big part of my childhood wasting away every time I could get to see her. Part of me wishes I had the chance to see her more now but I guess I always knew this day would come.
I have a weird way of dealing with death. I think I have some inbuilt defence mechanism because I am sure I never allow myself to get too upset and I have had some very close people to me pass away over the years. I missed a call from my mom this morning as I was busy putting the finishing touches to all the lovely new bits and bobs I have done in the house, my phone was on silent as it is most days since no one really calls me and late at night the constant notification pings get a little annoying. Then mid-afternoon I had messages from two of my brothers letting me know that Nan had passed away minutes earlier. Fortunately I saw those as soon as they came through. Many of the family were at the hospital after receiving a summons last night to attend as Nan didn’t have long left.
I had actually just popped to the local ‘pound store’ when I got the news. Of course I was sad, but I wouldn’t say I was upset as such. That may sound weird but I know what I mean. I’d been expecting this news for months really. As I drove home I thought about how to tell the kids. They weren’t really old enough to have formed a strong bond, well… memories-wise anyway, so I wanted to ask them what they remember about her before I told them.
I walked into the house and Michelle, Mikey and Drew were all sat on the sofa. I asked them to turn the TV off as I had some news and they said “We know what you’re going to say, we just read your brother post it on Facebook”. Nothing to do with the fact he had posted on Facebook, but I walked straight into the kitchen and felt the emotions welling up inside me and started to choke back the tears. I was really surprised by this. I then struggled to talk about my Nan to Michelle without getting choked up, again this surprised me. As I said, I feel I had prepared myself for the moment a long time ago.
I then rang my brother who was with my mom and she was in bits. It was heartbreaking to hear her sobbing. Maybe without thinking I said that I thought she would be relieved that Nan was no longer living in the shell she had taken on, but rightly so my mom said “Nothing can ever prepare you for your mom dying”. I was told how, right before she passed, despite not really being conscious at all for the last few days, she opened her eyes, looked at my mom, gave her a kiss and then slept. Beautiful.
Now to wait on news of the funeral.
When I was young my Family was really tight knit. We had the typical weekends of visiting all Aunts and Nans, the usual memories of Sunday afternoons watching TV, Xmas afternoons totally stuffed playing stupid games etc etc. My lasting memories of my Nan are visiting her in the hairdressers where she ALWAYS seemed to be when I was younger, as well as getting the bus up to see her regularly at work at the hospital where she was a nurse and getting cheap meals in the canteen. She had THE biscuit tin with all the old photos that we’d get out ALL the time as well as the cigarette card collection etc etc.
She had a tough life but I always saw her as very reserved and respected. Her son (my Mom’s brother) died at the age of 6. My Grandad had died not long after I was born, followed by my biological father, her son-in-law, not long after. Her second husband suffered for what seemed an eternity with a brain tumour. Watching him deteriorate was terrible. She finally found happiness and stability with her last husband, until today. I haven’t seen him for years, I bet I will be totally shocked to see how he has aged.
My Nan loved Shirley Bassey, Diana Ross and the likes. She was a keen gardener and cooked a mean cake and a killer Sunday dinner. She loved going on cruises and seemed to holiday every year in Spain. She was far from posh but her side of the family were definitely a lot more ‘to do’ than the other. World’s apart in fact. I ran away from home when I was 15 to stay with her for a while. Well, if you can call three days ‘a while’. Actually I just recalled knocking on the door in the house she always lived in for as long as I could remember and asking if I could live there. She smiled and said of course. I then said thanks, chucked my bag into the porch and carried on up town to the Powerhouse All-dayer. Ha Ha. Cheeky Bastard.
Man, how times have changed.
Anyway, I wanted to tell someone about my lovely Nan and remember her to you. My heart is heavy for my Mom and her two sisters, my brothers and my cousins.
Sleep well, Nan. xxx
In this interview we talk about a young lad, faced with his own challenges in life, overcoming trauma and adversity to continue to be the best father, husband and friend he can be.