I remember days walking in Dublin with my wonderful Nana. Walking down Henry street, hand in hand, watching everyone rushing around me. I was only about 3 foot tall but felt so safe with my hand in hers. She was a wonderful woman. The first one I would go to when I needed someone to talk to, the first one I went to when I rowed with my parents. We would get on the 11 bus and get off on O’Connell St. and stroll through the crowds. We’d pop into Clearys, and (religiously) into Guineys to check for any bargains, and always have lunch in the Kylemore Café. We would always get doughnuts at the kiosk at the bus stop outside the arcade on the way homeIt was our Saturday ritual. Sunday’s consisted of mass in Bird Avenue church, and buying papers from the boot of the mans car at the gate. I lived for those moments.
As I got older those Weekends in Nana’s got less and less but we always had our time together. We’d sit in her kitchen drinking tea (and maybe the odd cigarette!) and we would talk for hours. When the sun went down we would play Gin Rummy (and she always let me win!), we’d watch the Late Late Show and then it was time for bed. I slept on the Camp bed, which lay along side her “side” of the bed. I always felt so safe, always. I have never seen a bigger smile on her face than the one when I told her I was getting married. It meant the world to me to have her there that day. To watch me walk up that isle.
She started to get sick in 2011. Not long after my husband left us. She couldn’t get her head around what happened, so unfair, so cruel, but her way of helping me get through it was to tell me to suck it up, get on with it. At the time, I found it harsh, but now, looking back, it was her way of making me stronger. After I had my tiny human we’d call in after work every day to see her. My tiny one stood up for the first time in her sitting room. They would endlessly babble at each other, like they had some sort of mutual understanding. She spent the next few years in and out of hospital, each time it broke my heart to see her that way, she didn’t deserve it, she deserved so much more.
She finally left us in January this year, after a good fight. She went in her sleep in the end. Exactly how I hoped she would go. She deserved that much, to just nod off. A part of me went with her that day. I will never forget the dart of pain in my chest when my Mom broke the news, but she was “happier” now, no more pain, no more loss of independence (she always struggled with that bit). I felt devastated and relieved all at the same time. I have never seen so many people at an “older” persons funeral. A true testament to the incredible woman she was. As I sit on the Luas, looking out at the sunshine, I remember her so fondly, the good auld days, walking along Henry Street, with my hand in hers….
“Miss her but remember the glint in her eye, Remeber the good times you’d had.
Miss her but remember the stories you shared, The good times, the laughs, and be glad.
Miss her but remember the places you went, To Bird Avenue, Wicklow and beyond.
Treasure those memories so dearly now, For those moments gave all of us that bond.
Miss her but think of her wonderful smile, And we must make sure to mention,
No matter what you confided in her, All she gave was her undivided attention.
Miss her but remember she’s happier now, Reunited with who she got to know.
Miss her but keep all those memories safe, Miss her, but now let her go”