Friday, 11 July 2008
This One is For My Nan
It's hard to for me to believe that seven years have gone by.
Time is going by so quickly. Days are turning into weeks and weeks into months and now those months have turned into seven years.
Seven years since my Nan passed away.
I remember when I got the news. I was sitting in my flat, in Belarus, and I telephoned my sister Emma and she told me that my Nan had died a few days earlier.
I missed the funeral. I simply didn't have the time or the money to get back to England. And yet I have thought about my Nan, Pat Hawkins, every day since I received that telephone call.
I didn't want the seventh anniversary of my Nan's death to slip silently by. That's why I'm writing this today. I originally sent this as an email on July 11 2002 and I'm adding it to my blog today.
I know that sending an email or adding an entry to a blog isn't much, but it's one of the most personal things I can do.
I can only hope that you will read my words and let me share a few precious memories of my Nan with you today.
My Nan lived in a place called Trearddur Bay on Anglesey, an island in Wales. I would go and stay with her about once a year.
My Nan was sometimes quite nasty to me as a child and each time I was visited her I promised myself that it would be the last. And yet, every year, when she asked if I would like to return to Trearddur Bay, I would always say yes without a moment's hesitation.
Anything was better than being at home and, besides, I really did enjoy those summers in Trearddur Bay. Now that those days are gone forever, I look back upon them with a mixture of nostalgia and awe.
My Nan left Trearddur Bay two years before she died. She moved back to Cheshire in England to be with my aunt Annette who was suffering from breast cancer.
When I think about my Nan, I don't remember her in Cheshire - I always think about those summers in Trearddur Bay. Summers when my whole life was ahead of me and anything seemed possible.
Some of the memories from Trearddur Bay are so fresh, and seem so recent, it's hard to believe that nine years have passed since my Nan last lived there.
I can remember so many things, like going to play bowls with my Nan or climbing rocks, skimming stones and then returning home to my Nan's big house on the hill to find a hot dinner waiting for me.
The first time I fell in love was in Trearddur Bay. Of course it wasn't real love - that came later - but it was very real for a sensitive little boy who didn't know anything about girls or the world.
It's funny, I don't remember the girl's name. I remember we went hunting crabs together. I remember that she was very pretty. And I remember that she and her family stayed at a local caravan site.
I must have been about twelve years old when I met this girl and yet I've never forgotten her. It was only a few months after I left that I realised I had fallen in love with her.
Of course, being twelve, I never thought to ask for her address. I was more interested in crabs, conkers, catapults and climbing rocks. And yet, every few years I return to that caravan site, hoping to see her again. As the years go by, the caravan she stayed in becomes more and more disused and neglected. Still, I continue to go back there in the hope that I might one day see her again.
Even a few years ago, when I returned with my brother David to Trearddur Bay, I went back to that caravan. It's still there, but the windows are smashed and the caravan covered with ivy.
I wonder if that girl ever thinks about me.
This is just one of the memories that I have from Trearddur Bay. There are so many more. I realised after my Nan died that she gave me a great deal of my childhood. I have lots of happy memories from those summers spent in Trearddur Bay and my childhood simply would not have been a childhood without them.
I never thanked my Nan for that. Just as I never told her that I loved her. The truth is that I really didn't believe I did.
I was angry at her because she had often been nasty to me and I never told her those three simply words. She told me she loved me - I just never told her in return.
Since my Nan passed away I have come to realise that I did love her very much. I also realise that she loved me too and cared about me deeply. I truly wish that I had been a better grandson because I know that in that role I failed miserably.
My Nan died of blood poisoning on July 11, 2001.
The fact that my Nan had blood poisoning wasn't diagnosed until it was too late. My grandfather - who I wasn't close to - died a few weeks earlier and the doctors simply thought that she was grieving for him. In reality, she was dying. If they had only prescribed antibiotics she would be alive today.
And now here I am, seven years on.
I am glad that I got the chance to share a few precious memories of my Nan, Pat Hawkins, with you. I will remember her today in my own private way, but I wanted to share something of her with you, too.
I may not write about my Nan very often, but this doesn't mean that I have forgotten her.
I am learning to live with the guilt of knowing I was not a good grandson. I could have visited her more often - she often asked me to. I could have sent her a card after she lost her husband, I could have helped her more, asked her how she was, been less stubborn.
I am learning to live with this in my own personal way by realising that I was wrong.
I can only hope that, somehow, my Nan, wherever she is today, knows that I did love her very much. I can only hope that she knows that I carry the memory of her with me wherever I go.
I will always be very grateful to her for everything she did for me, everything she gave me, and especially for those magical, endless summers in Trearddur Bay.
Today is not a day for grieving but it is a day for remembering and I will always remember this fine, giving, dignified and wonderful old lady for the rest of my life.
My Nan was wonderful, she touched my life with her presence, and she was one of the most important people in my life. I will never forget her and I will never stop thinking about her.
I will tell my children about her and I hope, with all my heart, that one day I will meet her again and I will be able to tell her how special those days in Trearddur Bay will always be to me.
Goodbye, Nan. Take care. I miss you.
And I love you with all my heart.
Lots of love,
Your Grandson .
- Professional Englishman
- London, ENGLAND, United Kingdom
- This is me. Read a few entries and they will tell you more about me than I can fit into these few paragraphs. Many of these entries started their lives as mass emails. That was before I discovered blogs. Thanks for stopping by and thanks for visiting my blog and reading about my life. Both a work in progress.