This weekend just gone was spent with my family, watching my kids run around and play with my mum and mother in law, it made me realise how much I miss my own Nan. She would have loved the sound of laughter and excited screams as the kids threw water over each other. She would have filled them full of sweets and fussed over them, but most of all she would have smiled at me and patted my hand, telling me how well I had done marrying my wife and the kids I was blessed with. Then she would have taken a drag of her silk cut, a sip of her tea, White two sugars, and told me the latest gossip about the family. This is for her, to my Nan one of the most amazing women Ive ever met.
I dont think of you as much as I used to, but that doesnt mean I dont miss you. You were the head of the family, like a Mafia Don, everyone sought your approval for the slightest thing we did. You didnt do this in a nasty way it was just the way it was, you desereved our love and respect and that is what you got. You never said you were proud of us, not to our faces anyway you showed it in other ways, the sly passing of a £5 pound note when no one was looking, the extra roast potatos placed on my plate with a wink, the bigger slice of cake when my cousins were fighting over a different smaller piece.
I could fill pages with the stories you told, phoning the ships captain when Dad, who was doing his national service at the time, didn't answer your letters, burning his cricket bat because you didnt have enough wood for the fire, walkiing to the bus stop in the pouring rain when I was 5 minutes late picking you up,hiding my older cousins when trouble followed them, giving presents back that you didnt like to other family members for their birthdays and Christmases and brazening it out when you got caught. You did it all with love never wanting to know the ins and outs just that we were safe and happy.
My love of old black and white films comes from you, I remeber coming to see you on Saturday afternoons and watching James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, Henry Fonda and my own personal favourite James Stewart. You taught me to appreciate the story and the way it was told, my love of reading comes from you as well. I used to love sitting there listening to all the gossip of when Dad and my Uncles were kids. The way you could cut through the crap and get to the point with a turn of phrase. I envied the way you did that, saying what you thought not what people wanted to hear.
I remember as kids we all went on huge family holidays to Warners or Pontins, you encouraged us to enter everything and more often than not we won, except the year when you won Nan. The Babycham Glamourus Granny comeptition of Warners. Dad was convinced you wouldnt win and said he would stand on the table and sing to you if you did, he was never the extrovert like you and the embarrsament nearly killed him when you won and we made him stick to the bet. You laughed and smiled holding your Babycham green glass ornament, sipping the sherry my Uncles bought you as Dad stood there on the table in front of 600 people singing his heart out.
You used to say you would never make it to Christmas every year and this was the running family joke for many years, but then one year you didnt make it too Christmas did you?. You attended my wedding, everyone made a fuss of you, when asked for your name by the Master of Service you said "Their Nan" and walked straight past him changing the seating plan because you didnt like who you were sitting next to. No one said a word they just moved to their new seats
That was in the July and you was gone by the October, in your sleep the way you wanted to go. I didnt get to read the poem I wrote for you at your funeral it was attached to flowers outside, family politics took over once again and I stepped aside. Those that did stop and read it said you would have loved it, Ill guess Ill never now for sure. What I do know though is I missed you massively those first few years, I used to think about you all the time, look at old photos of you sitting watching the family around you. The passing of time is a great healer and although I dont think of you all the time as I said at the start, you are there in my heart and always will be.You truly were a very special lady.