Sending Birthday Wishes To Heaven

I don’t know if it’s because of the Christmas rush or just a lack of inspiration, but for some reason lately I haven’t had any spark to write anything of substance, nothing has been sending my thoughts racing and creativity flowing. However, this morning I have woken up on January 13th, my Nan’s birthday, with too many things to say. Maybe it’s because repeatedly listening to Ed Sheeran’s Castle On The Hill lyrics are making me reminisce on past times anyway. So to be honest, I don’t know what is more of a miracle, my late nan giving me the kick up the bum I needed to get writing again or Ed Sheeran!

My nan died sadly last February and personally for me, I can only describe death as a strange experience. Time has flown, but it is only recently it has really began to hit me. The realisation that she’s gone as you’re doing the most normal, everyday things like making a cup of tea or running into the shop for something as simple as a loaf of bread. Even now I am getting all teary writing this, but in a good way, my eyes are watering as I’m smiling thinking about her because the sun is shining in on me and I know she’s reading this as I’m writing it. Saying that though, she really is everywhere around us anyway. Our house is full of pieces of her. I didn’t see her all year round because she lived in England which is probably why parts of me are still hoping she’s still there waiting for me to come home full of stories, laughter and tears. On these down days the closest thing I have to her is my dad, and even though our almost identical personalities mean we kill each other half the time, I know she is looking down on us as we are listening to Tyga in the car, arguing trying to move furniture together or  watching some boring programme dad is making us all watch even though he falls asleep halfway through it!

I know every family says it, but my family really are a crazy bunch! Trust me, all the generations, all the different personalities, all the different locations in the world where they may be based, but all a bloody bunch of lunatics! I have my dad’s (perhaps, er sometimes slightly hot-headed) temper, which he told me nan also had (I definitely have my Grandad’s session side though!) Although, I don’t ever remember seeing this. I also remember her telling me about all her stories from her teenage years, the ones that would usually send her into such a fit of the giggles that we couldn’t even understand what she was saying anymore. The stories that made her cheeks light up and the rest of the room too.

My point here is that we all remember her in different ways, but she loved each and every one of us in all these different ways. I remember her as a lovable nan – the only person who gave me sympathy when I sprained my ankle and had all the rest of the family making me cups of tea all day, the woman who told us her pet hamster had gotten out of the cage during the day but not to be alarmed if she appears during the night… well it’s safe to say my sister and I didn’t get much sleep that night!

Mainly though, I remember her as the safety net who brought everyone together. You never knew who was about to walk through the door but whoever it was, they would always be given a cup of tea and a fuss made about them which usually meant we were all ordered to make the tea while she made the fuss – ‘Fe, make him a cup of tea and a sandwich!’ Well the next thing you know in comes the whole family from near and far, the local priest, her friend from downstairs and suddenly I’m making 15 cups of tea and 30 bacon sandwiches! Even though my cousins are all different ages, doing different things and building their own lives, to me they’ll always be the bunch of kids who I danced to Abba’s Dancing Queen with as Nan watched on with all the aunts and uncles! Try to deny it to your mates down the pub all you want lads but I have the video evidence…

We all knew her for different things. To me she was a nan. To some she was a sister, so no doubt someone you bickered with like crazy but would also go to the death for. She was a friend to all, but to my Dad, she was and still is a mother. You only get one of those so I think you need to cherish them as much as you can, but when they’re taken from you, as life often does, you need to look after all the pieces of them that remain and these pieces are people.

Even though the physical presence is gone, something must remain – her thoughts and memories, her love for people, her strong faith. This belief is the one that has really shaken me up the past few months and had me asking myself ‘but where did she go?!’ I believe she is somewhere watching all of us, watching all of our special moments in life and guiding us through the difficult ones. I’m sure she felt amazingly proud as she watched my sister getting her degree, I’m sure she is going to help my brother with his exams by giving him some of her faith so he has faith in himself to do well, I’m sure she is going to watch my beautiful cousin as she walks down the aisle this year. No matter what everyone may have planned, they’re all different with different plans but she will be seeing all of it. And I’m sure she said to me this morning ‘Get your lazy bum out of bed and get writing!’ She always told me to focus on my career and worry about the men later on. Oh Josie, you wise lady!

Families are full of unique personalities, some that work perfectly together and some that clash like crazy, but the love that remains despite all of this is what separates your family from your friends. I know I’m not the first person to experience the death of a loved one and I hope for those of you that have, this is also making you smile as the sun is shining in on you. However, I think it has made me realise two things – You’re stronger than you think and no matter what, you’ll always be sending birthday wishes to heaven.

My dad and nan

Happy birthday Nan, always loved and missed xx

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