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So... What Are You Waiting For? Carpe Diem - Live the Dream

Holding On

UNITED KINGDOM | Monday, 21 March 2011 | Views [389] | Comments [5]

It's only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth -- and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up -- that we will begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had.

We're all on our way out - it's just a matter of when. We're all aware of this, but I find it bizzare how ageing and death is still such a foreign thing to us humans. Despite it's occurrence since the beginning of time we still struggle with it, and with the concept of evolution in mind, wouldn't you think humans would have become immune to the grief associated with ageing, sickness and death? If only...

I've been fortunate enough, thus far, to have never lost anyone to death. No family members, no relatives or even close friends. However it's come to my attention after receiving some really horrible news last night that my precious nana has been admitted to hospital, and is being treated in intensive care for Diverticulitis. Although having been sick for months now this is a turn around for the worst and dad doesn't seem to think she's doing too well - she's 74 years old. I don't really know how to begin writing this, or why I'm writing this.. I suppose I just need to get it out. After all, this woman is quite possibly one of the most important figures in my life, and her happiness and well-being is all I could wish for.

My nana, Margaret Elizabeth Blackwell, practically raised me for the first five years of my life making her mark on my world and never ceasing to let go. And despite relocating from England to the other side of the planet in 1994, I have always kept in contact with her; every month, a phone call to or from England, constant cards, and little reminders of her love for me. There are so many things I remember about my nan and memories I will always cherish. I don't need something like this to happen in order for me realize how much she matters to me, but it does remind me of some beautiful things I'll always love and remember her for:

  • Nana loved Werthers Original toffees and always carried them in her handbag to share with us!! She always had a way of sweetening peoples lives.
  • When she came on holiday to New Zealand to visit us she made batches and batches and batches of these white-chocolate coconut balls. Delicious no-doubt, but after eating them day after day we eventually got a little tired of them, and "nans coconut balls" soon became a running joke in the family. Despite being a little over them myself, I was always defensive of my nan and got super offended when anyone rolled their eyes at her ongoing offer of her coconut sweets. 
  • I've always admired my nan's unconditional love and commitment to her faith. Even when I didn't want a bar of it she always had a way of making me want to listen, or question, or want to know more. I remember she gifted me a bible when I was little and wrote her favourite verse in it PROVERBS 3:5. I still have it and know it off by heart.
  • My addiction to tea all began with nan, who would make me and Luke a cuppa with 2 sugars in the morning with breakfast. I thank her for giving me a love for something that warms the heart when she's not there.
  • Nan has always been into her homeopathy and essential oils - hence the beautiful smells that always rose from her handbag or clothes. Even as a little girl, I will always remember the 4 things she always carried with her: Tea Tree Oil, Rescue Remedy, Lavender Oil and Eucalyptus. Each used for their own specific purposes I will especially never forget her dropping a few drops of Lavender on my pillow at night to help me sleep.
  • I remember missing her so much when she left back to the UK after her first visit (I would've been about 8) I kept her pillow and refused to wash it just so I could smell her and pretend she was still here. I kept that pillow for months, until her scent disappeared! That was my first experience with heartbreak; I've never missed someone quite so much even since then.
  • My nan was an outgoing, bubbly and loveable person. I'm sure anyone would say such of their own grandparents, but everyone loved her. Nan was a social butterfly and made friends with everyone. We all wanted to hear what she had to say and her demeanour with friends and strangers alike was so warm and gentle she put a smile on anyone's face. She was a great dancer too!
  • When I was little, I had a fight with my mum and ran away - all the way down to the end of my 50m driveway - and hid in the bushes to sulk. Of course my dearest nana came looking for me only moments after, calling my name and sat down (in the bushes) to comfort me until I was ready to come home. Who could ever forget something so sweet? 6 year old Leilani sure didn't.

I could go on forever capturing and reliving those bitter sweet memories of my younger, more youthful and healthy nana. It saddens me immensely to hear her voice dull as it has over time. I remember when I noticed for the first time the change in her voice - there was no longer the sound of a smile on the other end of the phone, but an old, lonely woman who misses her family and longs to be part of her grandchildren growing up. She never complained though. Progressively she had nothing much to tell me in our conversations. She just wanted to hear all about me and my whereabouts, simply happy to let me do all the talking - but I only ever wanted to hear how she was and what she was doing.

It never helped that nan didn't know the first thing about computers or internet either. This made it difficult to stay in touch, especially when I'm off galavanting around the globe. I've been happy all these years to send postcards and photographs so that she can see what I'm up to and how I've grown. It's still my goal in June (when I'm over) to set her up on Skype so that she can actually see everyone back home when we call them. She'll be amazed with this technology, I can't wait!  

Re-reading this, I notice I've written much of these things about her in past-tense, almost as if she's already gone. She's not, but I'm well aware that her time is short and that I might not get the chance to create new memories of her in my adult life. I want more than anything for her to see me now, as the woman I've become and not the child she once knew, so I can learn more about her and the life she's lived. I want to learn thing's I've never known about her, ask her questions I've never been able to ask, and hear about her life so that we can laugh, cry and reminisce together. I want to be able to make her dinner. I want to share a cup of tea with her. I want to go to church with her again, because I know this would make her so happy. I want to introduce Tom, the love of my life, to her and watch while she falls in love with him the same way my family have. I want her to see the things I've done so far, the places I've been, the things I've experienced. I want to share my photo's, my stories and my plans for the future. I want her to know all of this so that she can always be with me in some form or another. Most of all, I want her to know how much she means to me, how much she's impacted on my world and how happy and loved she's made me feel. 

Hold on nan, I'll be there real soon!




Oh darling, you make me cry!

  Nikky Apr 4, 2011 9:26 AM


Oh Lani, this is beautiful.
I know exactly how you feel. My nan has been sick too and it makes me feel sick with worry. Nan's are the greatest source of love, comfort, laughter, discipline and undying wisdom.
I hope she makes a speedy recovery.

  Fizz Hiser Apr 5, 2011 12:23 PM


Thanks Fizzle, so true! :) x

  tizleilani Apr 10, 2011 2:41 PM


Beautiful xxx

  Gems Apr 26, 2011 5:15 AM


Beautiful xxx

  Gems Apr 26, 2011 5:15 AM

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