The Business of being Busy

Ever since Mum died last week, everyone has been saying how busy we must be and I have to admit, it has made me slightly nervous, as we were not particularly busy after we initially rang round family and friends to break the sad news. But today we are collecting her death certificate, registering Mum’s death and then going to see the funeral director to begin proceedings, so today will be a busy , and emotional, day. My sister and I came to Mum’s house last night, to be together and to be able to have a full day on these tasks. It did not feel odd to me to come to her empty house, instead I found it comforting to be surrounded by Mum’s possessions how she left them 7 weeks ago when she left for hospital as everything is so familiar.

Mum was a very organised and efficient lady and so we were confident that her paperwork would be in order for us to find. So we went straight to her file named ‘Wills’ to find some of her funeral wishes – not as many as we had expected actually. We knew that she had been preparing for these days for the last 5 years, since our Dad’s death, as she has been de-cluttering too. Mum was always thinking of others and never wanted to be a burden to her two daughters, which of course, she never could be.

Once again I have thought how lucky I am to be here with my sister, as she is probably the only other person who knows exactly how I am feeling and exactly how much of a loss we are facing. We had a pleasant evening talking and opening the condolence cards that had been delivered here. I lit the fire that Mum had laid, as the house seemed cold when I arrived at first and I had brought a bouquet and candle from a kind friend, so the lounge looked cosy and welcoming  when my sister arrived.

I have talked before about the various hats that we wear in life : today I have taken my mother, wife and employee hats off, the only hats that I will be wearing today are those of sister and daughter.

There’s one more angel in heaven, One more star in the sky

Yesterday morning, at about this time of day, my Mother died in hospital, after a 6 week stay there and after a longer illness. I do not need to tell you again how loved she was and how much she will be missed, as I wrote what she means to me on Mothers Day. And so instead, let me write about the kind of Granny that she was to Joshua and my niece:

Joshua;s face would always light up whenever he saw his Granny, he would run towards her for a hug, just like he does for me. Granny and Grandpa came over on the day he was born and she stayed with us for weeks, coming to Special Care and then helping out at home when we finally got here, she put her life on hold to take care of her daughter and new grandson. She shared in every one of his successes as he grew, no matter how small : I remember the first – and almost last time – that he had a wee in the toilet, she sent him a congratulations card as she knew how hard we had been working at toilet training. Mum wanted to know about what he was up to and was always supportive and caring of the ups and downs in his life : she came down to London on the train to visit him in Great Ormond Street after his brain surgery , she came to Christmas concerts at school and enjoyed looking around his respite provision to meet the staff that I had talked about. Given that Granny lived over two hours away, so she could not just pop round everyday, but she was fully involved in Joshua’s life as we spoke regularly on the telephone and we emailed a lot.

She gave that same caring support to her other grandchild, my niece: before she went to school, Mum and Dad were her childcare and so she spent a lot of time at their house, playing in their garden and even going on holiday with them. As she did well and school and then university, Granny was so proud of everything that she achieved and would boast about her success. She followed her career path closely, always available to offer advice if it was needed, but reluctant to interfere, and even in hospital last week, she was delighted to hear about her granddaughter’s success in her new role, and about the positive feedback that she had received from her manager. Even when Granny was not well, such as on my niece’s graduation day, Granny put her first and shared in the proud celebration, even though she was in pain at the time, but there is no way that she would have missed that occasion.

Granny showed both of her grandchildren selfless love, pride and support for the different paths that they trod in life. She has left them that legacy and they were fortunate to have had her in their life, until both were adults. I am not yet sure how we will cope without her in our lives, that is still too raw and uncertain, but I can reflect backwards, rather than looking towards our uncertain future. She would want us to be strong and brave in her absence, as she was throughout her life, and so we will try our very best to follow her lead and not to let her down .