Looking back over the years, I remember many things – laughter, cuddles, the many goodbyes. What I never realised at the time was that these were in fact not real goodbyes after all. Leaving Nanny Josie was always a sad occasion. She lived in England, and we moved to Ireland when my parents hearts were young, free and fearless, and of course accompanied by a car boot full of suitcases, belongings, and the echoes of three young voices in the back seat asking ‘Are we there yet?’ A ferry journey always seemed to bring us so far away from what we knew, but we could always come back. It now all seems closer than ever as I am currently enveloped by love, the memory of nan’s rosy cheeks, and her cardigan which I managed to claim as my own.
In some ways my nan was such a stereotypical grandmother: she was smiley, kind, generous, cuddly, friendly to everyone- she was home. In fact, we always said she reminded us of the old woman in the film The Fox and the Hound. However, in other ways she was not only a grandmother, she was a friend. We laughed, we gossiped, we sorted out my life dilemmas and we discussed our favourite outfits (usually when she needed to sew something for me.) She was my nan and my lifelong friend, and to have that for 20 years of my life makes me a lot luckier than many other people.
Even though I did not see her as much as I would have liked as the years went on, she still taught me a lot about the meaning of family by building the bridge between family near and far, and giving me a taste of having my own family in the future by buying me a Baby Annabelle doll for Christmas when I was three. She gave meaning to the word ‘strength’ by fighting for her life to the last second and by keeping it together for all the years that followed my grandad’s passing. He passed away two years before I was born, but I still feel I know him through my nan’s stories, my fathers actions, and Ireland – one of two countries that I consider home.
Even though she is gone I know that she will live on through my three aunts, Mary, Kipsy and Dint. She definitely passed her crazy ways onto them and I will always return home to them when I feel like I need a cuddle from nan, life advice, or a good belly laugh. I feel equally at home with my uncle Chris, he is my only uncle by blood and the closest male link to my Dad and Grandad. I love winding him up but I also know he will always be there to protect me when I need him, because as him and my dad, the main men of the family would say ‘You’re a Fox, you’re not afraid of anything!’ There are endless amounts of family that I care about and they are spread all over the place in Bristol, Cornwall, Liverpool, and Ireland. Despite the distance, I know we will always stick together because that’s what my nan was all about, family.
She taught me all about the angels and allowed me to dedicate a whole part of myself to spirituality. She helped me when I was down by telling me I have to send my angel to the angel of the person I feel anxious about. Due to this, my own angel had been ordered on a last minute visit to England recently to sit beside my nan’s bedside as she bravely took her last few breaths before she moved on to Heaven. She needed this company more than I did, and even though the angels could not stop the inevitable, they gave me another guardian angel by taking a precious one from earth that I had always known, loved and cherished. And hey, it’s not that often that you get a guardian angel that comes out with random lines like ‘Our Fe looks just like our great aunt so and so across the eyes,’ while you’re all watching a film.
Going through all of this has made me realise that the only things in life that truly matter are your health and the people that really love you. Live your life with people who care about you and make you happy, and don’t waste time worrying about materialistic things or things that make you feel anxious, because in the end the years pass by faster than we think and before we know it we are saying goodbye to the things we cherish the most. I know my nan is now at peace, but she also lived a wonderful life here with us by touching the heart of every person she met.
I am devastated to have lost you, the whole thing is still surreal. However, I am also lucky that I got to love and idolise you for as long as I did, and will continue to do so until we meet again. Thanks for all the memories Nan, love you lots like jelly tots xxx