It was a year ago today that I received a call from Roli to ask me to come quickly.
I remember starting my day with an early text from Dunc to tell me that I had a new neice, Celeste and the joy that that new life will bring. Dunc asking how early I thought he could ring you to tell you the news that you’d asked for every day. I can remember also knowing that you’d been waiting to know that all was well with the arrival of your new grandchild. I remember being in my NLP training and somehow knew my phone was ringing in my bag despite it being on silent. I remember hearing the tone of Roli’s voice and knowing what he had to tell me. I remember wishing I’d been able to park closer and rushing to get to you. I remember driving at speed down an impossibly empty M4 motorway. I remember arriving at your house. I remember the house feeling calm and peaceful. I remember seeing the pictures that had been emailed from my little bro and that you’d been able to see of your new granddaughter and seeing you smile at the pictures. I remember the look in your eyes as you looked at me and you said your goodbyes.
During the next few hours before you left us, Roli and I sat with you, talked to you and also to each other – that was a special time. I remember the sound of comfortable silence and feeling of calm. I remember knowing that you had decided it was time. I remember knowing that you were now in control and, as in life, your death was going to be on your terms and in your own time too.
Thank you for making it easier for me (us all, I think) by telling us what you wanted to do when the time came. Thank you for being honest and open with us about your wishes should the Multiple Sclerosis progress. I remember when you gave us your ‘living will’ many many years ago feeling shocked and horrified that it would ever be needed but it helped to understand your wishes.
I hope we did it all right – you had ‘we look on the bright side’ as we left the church after your funeral (and yes there were a few of your guests aghast!). AND, as you’d longed for, and as I reasoned that they might not do, your grandchildren (all of them) did read ‘On the Ning Nang Nong’ in church at your service – and you were right, they loved reading something so ridiculous for a Granny that they adored.
BUT it’s a year since you left me. It’s a year since I’ve been able to talk to you and have you tell me not to be so bloody stupid. It’s a year and so much has happened and so many times I have reached for the phone to call you. I’ve needed you to hold my hand and tell me it’ll be OK or more than likely, ‘to just get on with it’. But I hear your voice sometimes as I do something or search for an answer and yes I still answer back!
Miss you Mum.
PS Are you dancing now and as you twirl and is that emerald green dress swishing and catching the light?
Your arrival into the world was so longed for by us all and so very much by your granny. Every day for weeks she’d been asking me if there was any news of you. Every time the phone rang you could see granny’s eyes light up with anticipation. When granny heard the news you’d arrived and were perfect she made her final preparations for her exit from this world. When she saw photographs of you which were emailed to her a few hours after your arrival, her face and eyes lit up with love.
Granny would also say that although your arrival in the world was shared, YOUR birth-day is your own day and you will make your life your own in your own special way. Be strong and be individual but always rememberer to smile and cause a little mischief!
Happy Birthday Celeste.