Today would have been my Nan’s birthday. She would have been 84.
My Nan was one of the most important people in my world for the first twelve years of my life. There was hardly a day in all those years that I didn’t see her. When my Mum had to go back to work it was my Nan who looked after us. At times we saw more of her than Mum and Dad, hard as they had to work to make ends meet.
It broke my heart when I was told she had lung cancer, right at the end when the treatments weren’t working anymore. “Could she die?” I asked, and my Mum told me the truth. I cried for hours.
When she died I didn’t know what to do. What I wanted to do was run around and smash everything I saw, but because I couldn’t do that I was lost. I wanted to go away so I wouldn’t see things that reminded me of her every day, but I didn’t want to leave her behind.
My heart has never really mended. I cried every day for years and I still cry when I think of her now, eighteen years later.
What makes it easier is that I have never doubted how much she loved me because she showed me constantly. The greatest gift she ever gave me was making “I love you” her last words to me. I have such happy memories of her, and so many of them.
Now I’ve got Ted I see so much of her in my Mum and the way she interacts with him. It makes me unbelievably happy that he’ll get the same love and support that I did, even though I’ll always be sad that he’ll never meet my own Nanna.
But in a way he will meet her because he’ll know my Mum, who shares 50% of her genes, and he’ll know me, who shares 25% of her genes, and he’ll grow up with 12.5% of the genes that made her who she was.
I’ll always talk to him about the Nanny who taught his own Nanna how it was done, and he’ll never doubt that she would have loved him too. So much.
Happy birthday, Jessie. You’ll never be forgotten.