This post contains a high volume of emotion and personal insight, so be warned.
This time last year I got the phone call.
The phone call that I knew would come one day, but I also knew that I would never really be ready for. The call which I am sure everyone will experience in their life at least once, but once is one time too many.
I had just arrived at work and my brother Roger called me. Roger never calls me in the morning. My sister, yes, my Mum, yes; not Roger. Weird. Five seconds into the call, I knew. Roger is the joker in our pack, the mischief maker and ring leader of all trickery, a real comedian. But there were no jokes, even within the first five seconds – that was unusual. The tone was subdued…I knew.
Nannie was gone. Passed away.
Nannie Hoey was one of those people who would kill you with kindness. She lived close, and would visit every day. I spent most nights at her house when I was little, and we had Sunday lunch at her house most weeks for many many years. She loved animals, and tolerated them more than people, and would never want to go away on holiday in case anything happened to her beloved cats and dogs. She was a worrier, was scared stiff of thunderstorms and the sea, and she always had to have her nose into everything. She was my nannie, and i loved her to bits.
But nannie had been slipping away for over a year. She was changed, losing her memory, losing her mind, driving everyone crazy in a way that made you feel guilty because she couldn’t control it. Her personality changed, her loving nature shadowed by the darkness of dementia.
But I didn’t want to remember the person she was over the last year of her life, because that wasn’t the person she was, and so throughout the weeks following her death, when the pain was still raw; I noted down a collection of memories that I had about Nannie that I want to live on for forever and ever, so I could put these in a little book as a keepsake.
For a long time it was just too difficult to do it. I had the idea and inspiration to make the book, and I knew what content I was going to use, but the act of making the book was too difficult, it was still too raw.
In June I gave it another go, and it was much easier. They say time heals all wounds, and I guess it is true, although scars still remain at times. It still makes me sad that my (future) kids will never get to meet my nannie and experience these memories for themselves, but at least they will have an insight into her personality through this little book.
So here it is Nannie – these are 24 things I remember about you. On the anniversary of your death, may this book be a tribute to your long and loving life. I love you and miss you. x