Monday, April 14, 2014

Eulogy to my Nan

Hi, Some of you may know I set up a charity and run it from bed, What you might not know is It would probably of never have come about if it wasn't for the example Nan set.

Some of my earliest memories is out litter picking and visiting various elderly or ill local people with Nan, popping in on them so they felt cared about and doing anything to help. I remember a local lady who was dying of cancer, some people would of felt uncomfortable, what to say to this lady, the embarrassment of her decline and her inability to do things. Of course Nan had none of these issues, she thought nothing of a comforting visit or helping the lady with toileting, what ever was needed, she was there.

My first voluntary job was aged 5 with Nan and Cliff or Grumpy as I call him, it was for a then tiny charity called Rainbow Trust, they would run fundraising stalls at fun events and again do what ever was needed, even if it wasn't a pleasant job. They did this for many years.

There's a song from my favourite musical, I am an appalling singer so won't subject you to that but part of the song says

I've heard it said,
That people come into our lives
For a reason
Bringing something we must learn.
And we are lead to those
Who help us most to grow if we let them.
And we help them in return.
Well, I don't know if I believe that's true
But I know I'm who I am today
Because I knew you.

Like a comet pulled from orbit
As it passes a sun,
Like a stream that meets a boulder
Halfway through the wood.
Who can say if I've been changed for the better
But because I knew you.
I have been changed for good.

It well may be
That we will never meet again
In this lifetime.
So, let me say before we part:
So much of me
Is made of what I learned from you.
You'll be with me
Like a handprint on my heart.
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you'll have rewritten mine
By being my friend.

Nan not only taught me to help others, she taught me one giant thing by example, neither of us were aware of this learning, nor that I would ever need to apply it but she taught me how to fight an illness with dignity and with the tenacity of a bulldog. I've never liked the phrase when someone is ill that they 'are such a fighter' but she really was. She would try and try rather than ask for help, battle against a failing body and for decades woe betide anyone who suggested she wouldn't walk again, she learnt time and time again after relapses. I got to spend a very precious hour with her a couple of days before she passed away, despite her body slowly shutting down you could see that she was still really fighting. I talked to her about memories, nearly all of them involved laughter. Nan had an amazing sense of humour and even paralysed and silent you just had to mention an incident with Doris in church and her whole body and bed would shake with laughter. During that hour I reminisced about the allotment and when I was banned from digging holes after she fell in one and got stuck, our fattening Friday baking sessions and mentioned the time she was in hospital years ago and a song came on the radio. For some reason mum and I were prancing around the room pretending to be riding a horse while Nan was doing the hand actions of a jockey, at one point we caught sight of a nurse standing at the door looking bemused much to our amusement. They say the last sense to go is the hearing, with Nan I am sure it was her sense of humour.

Times weren't only good though, MS can be so cruel and for many years she laid there silent, tube fed and paralysed. When I first heard this song it made me think of Nan, we still want her here with us but knowing how she must of felt trapped inside her body we take comfort that she is now free. I first knew the song under the title 'Flying home', I was later amazed to find it is known by 2 names, the other? Brenda's song!

Its hard to let you go
You've always let me in
And helped with all the endings
And you know where to begin
I need you here for me
Because you always know my heart
I cant believe we'd change
Or have to be apart
But if you've seen the love that's in her eyes
Then everything is good
And if you know the way she felt inside
She's flying where she should

Its good to know your laugh
And you'll always hold my hand
And watch from up in heaven
And always understand
We'll take you down the road
And in everything we do
We'll know how much you love us
A soul that's kind and true.
But if you've seen the love that's in her eyes
Then everything is good
And if you know the way she felt inside
She's flying where she should.

Although we will grieve we are left with a million happy memories of laughter, trips to Norfolk, getting muddy on the allotment, standing at the sink, gin and tonics and much loved holidays.

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