Well Hello There,
It’s been a bit bleak around these parts for the past couple of weeks. We lost our dear Grandmother and spent Christmas Eve giving her a send off. I was honoured to have been asked to sing her favourite song at the ceremony in the graveyard. It was one of those surreal moments where something takes over you. It was a privilage to be able to pay tribute to her. It still doesn’t feel real and it’s not something that any of my family members have been able to accept yet.
So 2015 ended on a very sad note. It was an oblivion of activity for a few days. As our parents organised my Nanny’s funeral we shuddered any time someone mentioned the C word. We all agreed that Christmas was simply getting in the way of a desperately sad experience. That’s the saddest thing really – there really is no time to properly mourne when someone passes away so close to Christmas. My mother, aunt and uncle had to immediately plan the funeral. Due to the limited Mass times they wanted to ensure they gave her the “best” funeral possible. It felt like a dream as we all sat around my aunt’s kitchen table choosing the hymes that would be sang at the ceremony.
Funerals are sad but this was on another level. It feels like I was looking down at myself as though it were a dream of some sort. I was waiting for the moment where we all woke up only to realise it had all been a misunderstanding. It was Christmas Eve and the traffic was mental. Everyone was rushing and racing to and from the shops, butchers and visiting friends and family. I felt annoyed as I watched people go about their normal daily life. Even more annoyed that people were celebrating. Did they not KNOW what had happened? It felt sad that the world went on as normal that day. It didn’t stop turning. It just felt wrong.
And that is the way life goes. In the midst of horrendously sad times there is always a “business-as-normal” element, no matter how unnatural it feels. We had to eat, shower, pack the dishwasher. There were brief ten minute interludes where one of those tasks would afford you an opportunity to almost forget what was happening. It would then hit you with a bang. A massive tonne of bricks and your heart would skip a beat for a minute. Oh yes, this is where we are.
Christmas Day arrived and I wanted it to quietly disappear as quickly as possible. I resented plugging in the Christmas Tree, sobbed as I wrapped the last of my presents and felt as though I was part of a farce. It felt wrong to be celebrating at a time where our world was falling apart.
And then I heard it again. “Ho Ho Ho”. That familiar chant the little man had been singing all week at the mention or sight of anything Santa, It stopped me in my tracks for a minute. Christmas is about him. It’s for the children. His first Christmas to (kind of) know what was going on. It was my job to give him a happy exciting couple of days. And so we did. We did the whole “fake it till you make it thing”.
Santa managed to find his way to our house. His little Elves had left the assembly until the very last minute on Christmas Eve. In the end it was probably a welcomed distraction. The little man was delighted with his IKEA Kitchen, IKEA Toddler Chair, Books and Little Farm Set from Smyths.
We even got dressed. I picked up this dress for €10 on a bargain rail in Heatons. It served me well on the day!
Stephens’s Day continued the tradition of us all wearing matching (kind of) Christmas jumpers. It’s a nice tradition that means little thought has to go in to your Stephen’s Day outfit. Naturally the clothes lasted a few hours before the day was spent in PJs stuffing our faces. We all got our jumpers in ASDA in Eniskillen when we were on our way to Lusty Beg Island.
We enjoyed some days at home together. Not having to rush and race too much was nice. Billy enjoyed using his new IKEA toddler table to have his lunch. I swear this little man has no baby in him any more. He might as well have a little uniform on him here like. Can time please slow down a tiny bit?
Our real life Elf On The Shelf enjoyed visiting (destroying) other people’s houses. He took a particular liking for his Nana and Grandad’s collection of festive singing teddy bears.
And then it was New Years. I was never happier to see the back of a year and at the same time devastated to be “leaving” my Nanny there. It is so hard to explain the way it made us all feel. It is still very raw and it will take a long time for the dust to settle but I can’t help but be eternally grateful for the many happy years I spent getting to know my Nanny. It fills me with unbelievable pride to have been able to give her a great-grandchild too.
For 18 months my little man got to know the amazing woman that she was. She cried when he was born having been praying and praying for his safe arrival.
I will miss the tea Nanny. The chats and the talk of the bargains. I will miss telling you my news and asking for your opinion about anything and everything. I will miss the smell of rashers and the rollers in your hair. But most of all I will miss the friendship I had in you. As the priest at the funeral said, your life has not ended but has changed course. I have a guardian angel now and something tells me that you won’t put me wrong in this life. Thank you for giving so much of yourself and asking for little in return. We will do you proud. I Love You, my forever friend.