Yesterday my lovely nana died.
She’d had two strokes in the past few months, and simply couldn’t recover. She’d had a long life, and as good a death as any of us can hope for – being held in the arms of two of her daughters – but that doesn’t change the empty hole she’s left in all our lives; and today I woke up knowing that there are now fewer people in the world who love me.
I think about life – and death – too much at present, and am trying to involve myself more in the moment, to get caught up in the daily functioning of the machine rather than constantly trying to inspect the clockwork behind it all. But I can’t help but think how quickly the first 37 years of my life seem to have gone and stare forward into the abyss of the future knowing that it too will be all too brief.
I suppose this is the hole into which religion slots nicely – a sort of mental safety net. And I do want to believe in God. Sometimes, I do believe. And I’m certainly not an atheist. I’m an agnostic – I don’t know. I’d like the comfort of surety, but have to accept that the only thing that is certain in this life is uncertainty.
That said, I have a sense of the spiritual – and a belief that we only know a fraction of what “is.”
I also know that, scientifically, all matter and energy has always and will always exist.
And that’s comforting in a way.
Because my nan, despite being in her 91st year, was a life-force to be reckoned with.
I can hold up my hands and say that I have never met a more positive person. Someone who always had a smile, an adventurer at heart; someone who did things, went places and cared. I was lucky to have her as my nan; and even more blessed that she lived until I was well into adulthood, meaning that our relationship was not simply formed through the vague cuddles and ice-creams of childhood, but was a real connection between women of wildly different generations.
She was someone who – even at 91 – was able to engage in interesting conversation, offer comfort and support to her family and find the pleasure in everyday life.
She dyed her hair a honey-blonde, was always tastefully dressed, cared about her appearance and exuded the air of a woman 20 years her junior. One of the most harrowing things, seeing her in the hospital, was the way her age had caught up with her suddenly as her hair grew in white and her face became thinner.
I know that many will say that a long life full of love is as much as any of us can hope for.
But I also know that, when they leave us, certain special people leave a disproportionately big hole.
And that everything in my life is a little duller for her passing.
I love you, nan.