This post was supposed to be about mine and Mr. Nomad's pre-Valentines getaway to Hervey Bay, but unfortunately these past few weeks have been a little all over the place. Our getaway was more sad than anything else with the news my beloved granny had passed away. Unfortunately a week or so ago my grandma fainted in her garden and ended up in hospital. She'd had a long battle with cancer and ended up being transferred to a hospice. My uncle here in Australia quickly flew back to the UK, but I knew it was the beginning of the end of the road. I had to make a snap decision if I was going to fly back (and spend a lot of my savings which I can't really part with at the moment). I actually decided not to go... aside from the fact it was a lot of money, before I left the UK to move to Australia in November I had in my mind, already said goodbye. I spent an afternoon with her and told myself that would probably be the last time I saw her. And with that decision, me and Mr. Nomad rushed out to get some photos printed and framed to give to my uncle to take back with him so he could put them up in the hospice room so it felt like we were there and she knew we were thinking about her.
Saying that, it's still been very upsetting for me being so far away. The problem with living half way across the world is that it's so difficult to keep up to date with how things are due to the time difference. There's also the small problem of when things get really bad, you can't just drop everything and be there within a few hours. After working it all out, even if I had decided to head back to the UK I still wouldn't have seen her. One thing that has comforted me a little is that I'd been an avid postcard and letter sender. Even though she never replied as it was too difficult for her to get to a postbox, every time I went to see my grandma when I no longer lived in the same city as her, she would tell me how much she loved the postcards and letters I sent her updating her on what I was up to. I continued this throughout our move to Australia and she had received a lengthy letter from me just as she went into hospital, so my mum was able to read it to her.
My grandma was one of my best friends. Whilst this may be a cliche thing to say, I knew her so well and we were incredibly close. I actually went to University in the same city she lived in so became her main carer whilst I was there for 3 years. I took her shopping, on days out, cooked meals for us together and would spend a lot of time with her, helping her with her day to day jobs. Over this time she became pretty dependable on me, but she was great company- we did many crosswords together (her absolute favorite thing to do) and had so many laughs. Not only this, but I learnt so much about her and her adventures throughout her life; living in Sri Lanka, being pursued by a handsome Italian man whilst she was in the WRENS (ooo err!) and the WW2 dance parties she attended where she mingled with men from all over the world and where herself and her colleagues were considered the cream of the crop (the WRENS were regarded pretty highly at the time). Then when she left the services, how she pursued a career in teaching and was one of the first women she knew to get a car (an old mini to be exact!) and how much she loved driving. Whilst doing this she had three children, all one year apart- crazy!
One thing I will never regret in my life is the effort I have made with my grandparents. When my granddad died 2 years ago I was completely heartbroken but at the same time I felt so lucky I got to spend so much time with him. When he became too old to take care of himself properly we moved him up to Yorkshire near our house so we could keep an eye on him. During my gap year and the years I was around at home prior, I spent a lot of time with him too, also taking him shopping and helping him around the house. He was also a great rock to me at a time I found really difficult when my parents split up.
If I could give one lesson to any younger people growing up it would be to make time for elderly relatives and cherish the time you spend together. I find it so infuriating the way many people do not have enough time for older people (including my own relatives). I cannot imagine being old and having no one remotely interested in talking and spending time with me, and really hope my future grandchildren have a relationship with me as I have with my grandparents. With that being said, here is an article the paper did on my grandma and some of the amazing things she did throughout her life.