Whilst writing this I am in Kos, Greece on a family holiday. My Nan had Dementia and Alzheimers and was diagnosed with this about 4 or 5 years ago. She had always been independent, living on her own since about 1990 when my Grandad Harry died.
Let me tell you a little bit about my Nan, first of she wasn’t just mine, she made a pretty big family! Having 7 kids who went on to also have many of their own, Nan soon become Nanny Pat to 40+ Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren.
My childhood was filled with laughter, tantrums and tears, usually on a Saturday at Nan’s flat and later on at her home in Welwyn Garden City.
Our Saturday gatherings around Nanny Pat’s were notorious, be it for the pilgrimage to her house for her amazing rock cakes or because you were allowed to eat crisp sandwiches there, it was always a big step in any relationship you might find yourself in, having to introduce them to Nanny Pat and in turn pretty much the whole family in one swoop!
You couldn’t go and see Nanny Pat without being offered some food, usually a sandwich of some kind and most importantly a cup of tea! Nan would often be found happily sitting in her chair just listening to the family talk about what has been going on, often with a smile on her face and a tissue stuffed up her sleeve which she would fiddle with, as well as only minutes away from offering another cup of tea!
I know the large family will all remember Nan in different ways, for my youngest Katy it will always be hard boiled eggs (weird I know!) she always had one ready on a Saturday for Katy (as well as others!) for the eldest Ashleigh it is dairy-lea cheese! I know for many food will play a part (especially those rock cakes, nobody did ever get a recipe on how to make them).
I have many fond memories of Nan, be it the trip she took me and my sister, aunt and cousins on to Pontins in Blackpool or the sleep over we had once at hers or the story about the boogie man in the hall way who will get you!
Unfortunately Nanny Pat dying didn’t come as a massive shock as her health had been deteriorating over recent weeks, it just sucks it happened whilst we are away, but with a family of our size there was always a chance somebody would have been away.
I am gutted that I will also miss her funeral as this will take place on the day we travel home but I know many of the family will be there which is of great comfort and thank you to my cousins who will be the pallbearers.
For me I will remember Nanny Pat in this way:
Nanny Pat was a Mum, Nan, sister and friend,
A life that was so very special,
Now that sadly had to come to an end,
Nanny Pat you were there when we needed you most,
You’d greet us with a warm smile,
Be it to rant to over a cup of tea or offer up your spare room,
Knowing you were always there, no matter what was such a piece of mind,
When life got tough your door was always open and the kettle always on,
Nanny Pat you were truly one of a kind,
You are loved so much by all of us,
As our Mum, sister, friend and Nanny Pat,
Everybody will continue to do their best to make you proud,
In whatever way we can,
There are not enough words to say what I want to say,
Nanny Pat, I’ll never forget you and you will be remembered every day.
Although we cannot see you it doesn’t mean you’ve gone,
We love you and and will be remembered in our thoughts,
And the memory of Nanny Pat will always live on in us.
Nanny Pat I know it’s time to say goodbye,
You’re someone we’ll always love,
You’ll be missed so dearly,
But at peace……