Turning 31…

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It’s Wednesday 21st October 2015 – the night before my 31st birthday.

I sit here about to type, feeling very emotional and wondering if have just learned the most valuable lesson of all.

On Tuesday October 20th my beloved grandmother, Therese Burke, passed away. It has been a long three weeks for everyone in my extended family with my poor nanny getting worse day-by-day and with nothing any of us could do.

Waiting by the phone, multiple trips to and from the nursing home, goodbyes said followed by a sudden shimmering glimmer of hope only to see it taken away the next day by more bad news … anyone who has been in that situation will know what I mean when I say that the past few weeks have really been a mentally-exhausting roller coaster.

For me, my nanny was more than just a grandmother. She was the queen of the family. She held us all together and unintentionally drilled into us that family is everything! My mams side of the family is so close that rarely would an event, a special occasion or a night out be missed by anyone, especially my nanny.

Even though you’d ‘hear-us-before-you-see-us’ (they will kill me for saying that! Haha!), the love and companionship in the room was always 100%. We knew how to let the hair down together and every occasion was always eventful and fun, with nanny at the helm of it all of course!

Sundays for me growing up are fond memories of the get-togethers every Sunday morning in my nanny and granddads house.

We’d arrive in our droves, almost like an army – so many cars parked outside that we would take over the whole road. The smell of lingering perfumes and after-shaves filled the hall –  kettles boiling, presses being opened and closed, biscuit tins being rattled, kids screaming, people talking and the sounds of laughter all filled the walls of nannies kitchen every Sunday morning and I LOVED IT, we all loved it.

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My granddad sadly passed away suddenly 10 years ago this January and to be honest, my nanny has missed him something fierce. As a couple, they were inseparable and granddad had a love for my nanny like no other. He was besotted by her. When granddad passed away, a part of my nanny died too. She was lost without him and deep down, we all knew it.

Over the years everyone grouped together to try make her feel whole again. We would fuss over her, bring her on holidays, bring her away on trips, spend time with her by doing her hair and painting her nails and ensuring she always had a glass of red and a Sunday paper – she loved both of those things the most! 🙂

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As a family we all tried to make her as happy as we could and although a piece of her heart was always missing, we succeeded in making her feel so loved that I know her final years were just as happy as her previous. I take comfort in knowing that she has been reunited with my granddad and feels whole again; that she is looking down on us, protecting and guiding us as we try with difficulty to adapt to life without her.

I’m crying now…. 🙁

So, as I turn 31 tomorrow – the day of nannies funeral – I have really learned that not only is family everything, but life is too short to waste it being in any way unhappy. And while a piece of you can be missing, the love of those around can make you feel somewhat whole again.

I love you nanny and may you RIP

Thank you for the memories….


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  1. Maria Borza
    2 November 2015 / 03:04

    wow, such beautiful words and memories…. I’ve no doubt your nanna was so proud of you and the woman you’ve become and for up above both herself and your granda will be looking down, protecting you and cheering you on every milestone you reach, chin chining you with the glass of vino xxxxxxx Family is everything and you have such an amazing one by your sidexxxxxxx much love to you all

  2. 27 October 2015 / 16:49

    Thank you for such a lovely message Caroline xx

  3. 27 October 2015 / 16:48

    Sorry to hear – may she RIP. Glad you liked my post xx

  4. Gemma
    24 October 2015 / 03:16

    That is beautiful, lovely to see how lucky you are to have such a beautiful person in your life xxx

  5. Kirsty Ryan
    23 October 2015 / 00:37


  6. Canal Cook
    22 October 2015 / 14:45

    I’m sorry for your loss. My granny died on Monday, in very similar circumstances after weeks where we watched her slip away. This post resonates with me a lot because of this, thank you for sharing

  7. Denise Notaro
    22 October 2015 / 12:30

    So sorry for you I know how you feel my own mother going downhill slowly in a nursing home and the sad thing is my dads in a different nursing home, hope today goes well X

  8. Caroline
    22 October 2015 / 10:01

    So sorry for your loss Sue…I’ve finished reading this and have tears flowing down my face. The passing of any relative or friend is hard but I think when its a grandparent its like a little piece of your childhood has passed on too… sounds like your Nan was very much loved and cared for. We grew up next to door to Nan and Grandad on my Dads side and they were my favourite people in the world! Like your Nan she was happiest when the house was full with us all and have so many fond memories of Sundays with all 30 cousins playing outside, having 7-Up in plastic cups and purple snack biscuits.As we grew older there those Sundays got quieter but I still called as I loved the chat and the giggle with her and she always had the kettle on boil for a cuppa (or a hot whiskey when the winter turned in…!) she passed away 6 years ago and part of me still misses her and will always miss her. She was the link to my childhood, memories I will cherish forever. She is with me everyday in little things I do or say and I wouldn’t change that for the world. The next while will be tough on you and your family Sue but together you will get through it and be better people for having such a wonderful Grandmother. Love to you and yours. Caroline xxx

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