Dear Nan, it’s been a day since you left and still hasn’t sunk in yet. It hasn’t sunk in that I won’t speak to you in the morning before work; I won’t dial your phone number I’ve been dialling since I was a kid; I won’t sit with you for dinner or a glass of wine; I won’t ring your doorbell which never seemed to work; I won’t have a missed call saying ‘Nan’ on my phone anymore and I won’t see you again.

This is something I intended to say at my Nan’s funeral, but didn’t, and so now I’ve said it. I wrote this the day after my Nan died suddenly and I feel as strongly about each word now, as I did at the time. She was one hell of a woman. A woman who cared beyond belief about family, friends and life. She taught me about being kind, being honest and being forgiving (even though the latter is something I still struggle with).

But now she’s gone, now the love and support I always had from her has gone, what becomes of me? What becomes of any of us who have lost our strong, female counterpart?

In all honestly, I still feel sad and lonely without her. The sadness doesn’t seem to go away, but I am starting to reflect on what having had such an influential woman in my life has done for me.

I have felt like a part of this world just by being loved unconditionally by her from the very beginning. If there is no real answer to why we have been put here on this planet, then I believe it’s important to feel connected to this place somehow; through another human being. We don’t have the same issues with our grandparents as we do with our parents and so the relationship with them (with my Nan especially) is easier. It is has been for me anyway. And it has shown me how to look at different perspectives, past my own, to share feelings and frustrations with another person, even just for one’s own personal sanity.

I’m not the woman my Nan was. She was a devoted wife, a loving mother to six children, a great friend, a treasured auntie, as well as a daughter-in-law, sister-in-law and fantastic mother-in-law. She thrived on playing the lead in all of these roles and even though I would find it difficult to live up to such notoriety, I feel touched by her even now. As if she has bequeathed a small piece of her goodness to me, as I expect she has done for the rest of her family. She has shared a little bit of herself amongst all of us; her kindness, pureness and merriness. I think we could all lead better lives if we are lucky enough to have inherited such love and sincerity, no matter the human being, and no matter the time frame.

I often find myself sitting on the train going to work, thinking about my Nan. I see flashbacks of being in her house, sitting in her garden having tea or being at a family gathering and hearing her laugh hysterically in the background. I think about her picking my brother and I up from school and walking back to her house where she would then give us cups of tea, crisps and biscuits, and then make us dinner before our parents collected us after work. I think about sharing good news with her and seeing genuine delight in her face which equally delighted me seeing her so happy. I also think about how she died and how guilty I feel that she was on her own at the time. I felt she deserved to be with her family or friends. Not alone in her car, outside a supermarket. I stupidly expected to be with her when she passed. Somehow, in my mind I imagined her being with people she knew at the time of her death and we would be able to say goodbye to her. I never thought she would be taken in the blink of an eye.  I think about that a lot; trying to make sense of something which is out of our hands.

You were a true-born worrier as well, Nan, and I’m sorry (as we all are) that we couldn’t make you worry less, but I do know it’s because you cared so much about not letting anyone down or being a nuisance to others. You have never been a nuisance, Nan. You have only ever been a shining star. We will love you always, merry Mary.

By Sophie Bloodworth

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