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Friday, January 6, 2012

See you later Nanna...

On Thursday 5th January 2012 at 1:30am a dear old woman slipped peacefully from this life onto the next. It happens all the time. Death is an unfortunate part of life. This time is different. This time it's personal. This time that dear old lady is my "nanna K" and although it's natural it still stings.

"Nanna K" is my great aunt, my mum's aunty Mollie. Although she is mum's aunty she has been mum to my mum for the last 41 years. She is the only grandparent I've ever known on my mother's side. She has always been, and will always be, "Nanna K" to my sister Amanda and to me.

She always loved us as her own grandchildren. She never objected to us calling her nanna. She was always there while we were growing up and when she moved away we talked on the phone and travelled up to visit her when we could. She wrote long letters in her large sprawling handwriting. We had to ask mum to read them although we enjoyed seeing how many words we could recognise. Her letters were fascinating. We loved going to visit. She was a cheeky, spirited, oppinionated and 'proper' woman. She was strong and independent and she was fun. She hated leaving. She would make a fuss of pushing us out the door but when we backed out the driveway we knew she was crying. She loved us very very much, and we love her.

Nanna travelled down to share special events with us. She was at my sister's engagement party and both of our weddings. She couldn't make it to mine and Corey's engagement party but she sent some money so we could travel up to stay with her. She was always very thoughtful. One day I set her special stove covers on fire (I'd never seen one before) and I was really upset. "It doesn't matter," she said, "it's only money". When we stayed with her we always marvelled how she could be so hard of hearing normally but if you whispered something out of line she'd pick you up on it quick smart. We found it funny that there was almost always a cold cup of tea in the microwave.

Over the last few years Nanna lost some of her memories and some of her agility and slowly but surely started getting worse until not much remained. She never lost her fighting spirit though. When we took Alexis up to meet her last year she had very little memory left. She had no idea who I was but she was still kind and loving and said to me "you're a sweet young thing but I can't hear a word you're saying," just like she always had. It was uncanny. I found a pen and wrote down that I was Louise's daughter and she looked me in the eye, grabbed my arm and said, "MY Louise!?" Five minutes later she was asking me if I was there to visit her. It broke my heart. We left her with some photos and the woman next to her said, "that'd keep her going all day, that's a very nice thing you did".

Even though we'd been expecting this for sometime it is still hard to believe she is gone. She seemed almost immortal to Amanda and I. She was "ancient" before we were born. I'm not actually sure how old she is but she's atleast ninety. It doesn't make it any easier though. I'm sad my son never got to meet her. I'm sad my chidlren won't get to know her personally. Yet I'm glad she left so many wonderful stories behind in our hearts. This is my first real taste of loss (I can never be thankful enough for the fact that I've gone 24 years without attending a funeral) and I'm not sure how to take it.

My husband Corey says to remember the good times. Remember her as I knew her my whole life. That sounds like perfect advice to me. So here's some pictures of the "ratbag" as we used to call her (she was always into mischief). I love you nanna. I always will. Thank you for taking care of my mum. I hope you are enjoying catching up with family and friends in paradise. See you later (although hopefully not for many years. I'm sure you can understand).

in the red on the left with mum and dad (and his parents) at their engagement party

with mum at her wedding


From left to right: dad's nanna, dad's mum, "nanna K" at Manda's wedding

dancing with her grandson at my wedding

This is from Manda's engagement party. This is how I want to remember her.
See you later nanna.

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4 Comments:

At January 6, 2012 at 8:15 AM , Anonymous Amanda said...

As per usual Karlee, you've grabbed the words I've been struggling to find. Thank you for this lovely tribute, and for helping me laugh out loud, and cry. xx Love you Nanna K.

 
At January 7, 2012 at 2:05 AM , Blogger Dr Bron said...

You're lucky you had Nanna so long, Karlee, but the death of a loved one is hard (even when you see it coming). Sadly, death and I are old friends; the best way I have found to describe it is your world tilts a little. Corey is right, remember the good times. Thinking of you. Rest peacefully, Nanna K.

 
At January 7, 2012 at 1:05 PM , Blogger The Mother Experiment said...

Thanks Manda and Dr Bron.

 
At January 8, 2012 at 1:04 PM , Blogger Rhianna said...

Fairy wishes and butterfly kisses for your loss Karlee. This is a beautiful tribute to what sounds like an amazing woman. The whole reason we have good times is so we can remember loved ones with a smile

 

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