So this is it – the first day of the rest of my life without you. It’s a day I’ve dreaded for as long as I can remember, a day I’d hoped wouldn’t come for yet another decade.
I held your hand yesterday, as you finally allowed yourself to sleep. I sang you a lullaby under my breath, said my prayers for you. You were beautiful your entire life but in that moment, you were radiant. I saw the peace in your heart, the relief in your face.
We were relieved too. Thankful for your calm departure.
Thankful is a word I want to use a lot today. You see, you’ve given me so much to be thankful for. For you alone, I’m thankful.
You’ve always inspired me – even as a little girl. You taught me how to read and write before I went to Primary School. You sat for endless hours on your sitting room floor showing me how to curl a C. You patiently reiterated word after word as I read aloud to you. As I grew, you continued to instil a love of English into me. You listened to my poetry, told me how talented I was. You read my stories, encouraged me to write more and more. At 30 year old, I still find pleasure in the passions you nurtured. You gave me the confidence to pursue a career in English, the confidence to publish my writing for others to read.
You gave me the best advice. You were always the first person I turned to in a crisis, the one I’d believe could make me see sense. I’ll always be grateful for the time you spent advising me. You watched me transition into a woman, put my mind at ease at every uncomfortable or daunting moment.
The day my Husband left me, you discovered me lying alone in my Mother’s hallway. The pain of my heartache had rendered me physically unable to move. You sat beside me, stroked my hair and reassured me that I had the strength within me to get up and move on. You made me see my worth, appreciate that if he never returned, I’d do so much more than survive. You held my hand as I steadied to my feet. Like a newborn Deer, my knees buckled and weakened. You held my hand, made me straighten my back and carry on living.
When he returned, you wished us the best and told me you were proud of the strength I’d shown, that sometimes it was stronger to try and make things work than simply disregard them. You had a way of making me feel as though I’d always made the right decision (even if you believed I hadn’t).
The day I discovered I was pregnant, it was your advice I wanted to hear. I could never imagine becoming a Mother without your guidance or support. You were there the day my son arrived, you were there throughout his colic and when my heart broke over not being able to breastfeed, it was you who showed me that there was no shame in formula. You who made me see that his eating habits are nothing to become stressed about. From the day my Daughter arrived prematurely, you taught me to panic less, to be dramatic less. You’ve loved my children with the same unconditional love you showed me and my Brother. You’ve told me over and over again that I’m doing a wonderful job. I couldn’t be a Mother without you. The Mother I am is down to your advice and relaxed approach. Thank you for making me feel like I’m doing alright.
I owe my sense of Adventure to you. My Mother, a natural born worrier, would have seen me swaddled in cotton wool. You encouraged me to experience life. Told me that I shouldn’t ever let fear or worry prohibit me from living. It was that courage which made it easy for me to leave my profession and seek new challenges. You’ve always made me see that change doesn’t ever have to be daunting, change can be miraculous, exciting, necessary!
The change we’re experiencing right now is harrowing and tragic but even to your dying day, you wanted us to believe that even this was for the best.
Whilst you were still conscious, you asked us all to be happy for you. We are. We’re happy that you’re no longer suffering, no longer in pain. We’re happy that you’re with your Father again, dancing on his shoes. We’re happy that we saw you leave, had time to say our full goodbyes. Mostly, we’re happy for the life you’ve given us.
I feel privileged to have known you, honoured to have felt your love, advantaged to have so many beautiful and noteworthy memories with you.
So thank you for your amazing grace. Thank you for making me the woman that I am.
Thank you for being my Gran, my best friend.
I’ll love you always, I’ll remember you forever.