This blog post is wholeheartedly selfish, I am writing it because I need to. My blog has documented so many life events and I can't miss this one out. It's taken me many months, adding bits here and there so if it reads like that, well, it will. The whole time I am typing I am sobbing, this post may be triggering - if you are grieving right now, you have my full empathy and it might be best to skip this one. Then again maybe we all share grief. This may be cathartic to some of you, I don't know. I feel like that's a warning of what is to come. Some of you may think this is oversharing. Please allow me this space, it's my creation and this is part of my processing.

This is a tribute to my Nan. Sadly she passed away in April 2020 at the amazing age of 101. 

The first ever quilt I made, I gave to my Nan - so she was also mentioned in my first ever blog post. I talked about her when I was on TV, I talk about her to everyone all the time! She grouped together with my Dad and they bought me my current (amazing) sewing machine. I have things that belonged to her all around the house, many of her sewing supplies too and SO many things remind me of her. I get that feeling that I need to call her and share something with her all. the. time.

I know I share her creativity. My nan called it 'work' but it wasn't really, she did crochet, embroidery and drawing/painting. She said her hardest day was when she couldn't see to read or do 'work' any more. She was an avid learner, she went to university to study politics when she was in her 60s. No reason other than she was interested and she didn't have the opportunity to when she was younger. She was a very determined lady.

She was also a firm believer in science and technology - "they can do amazing things Lucy, just think what they can discover in the future!". She would always read in detail about the latest inventions or progressions in health care. And she was smart enough to be sceptical of fads or sensational news. She told me to eat real food, "Watch," she said, "they tell you margarine is good for you but one day they'll turn around and say it's not and that we should eat butter". YEARS ago she told me that and, it's happening!

She did eat sugar every day though. It was a running joke that she wouldn't eat a lot unless it was ice cream/dessert. We would go out for meals and she would eat the biggest desserts, every bite! I remember on a trip in Italy, taking a photo of an ice cream sundae so big you couldn't see her sitting behind it! Always real sugar, no substitutes, and she used to hoard sugar cubes in her handbag. She had a big stash of chocolate and sweets in reaching distance of her armchair. She'd always give me a Chocolate Orange and my husband huge bars of chocolate. When she gave them to us she would hide it from our children, like a sneaky treat. Isn't that what grandparents do?! And as an adult it was just so funny.

My Nan had a touch of mischief to her, actually she called me a mischief, but it wasn't a silly or mean mischief but in the love of life sense. A childlike wonder of how incredible the world is, of simple things, of making and caring about good times, a giddy sort of mischief. At the same time she was a dreadful worrier and always wanted to be sure everyone was ok. I inherited both of these traits from her, I think, I am to my core an optimist but I do worry a lot. We used to talk on the phone about our worries until we convinced each other there weren't any. I miss that.

From my earliest memories, she cared for me. She would read me bedtime stories and her voice was so gentle and tender. Oh here I am causing mischief, pulling out 80's pastel coloured tissues that I thought were oh so beautiful as I threw them around. We were on holiday somewhere, maybe Ibiza or Malta. I remember getting out of bed just so I could go find her and have her put me back to bed.

She told me to sing to my children. "Sing to them. Sing everyday and be happy. Songs are important"

She was in a care home for the final couple of years of her life, as she had some form of dementia. We visited one Easter to sing her "chick chick chick chick chicken" and she sang every single word of that silly song along with us. The last time I saw her there I went with my family but I visited her alone, she was sleeping and I didn't want to wake her. I just sat with her but she did wake up and we talked a bit. About the weather and flowers, and I talked to her about the kids. I told her I loved her and she told me she loved me. She likely didn't know who I was or my name but I know she knew she loved me and she said as much. My Nan was absolutely filled with love.

Look at how she looks at my kids. So much love in those glances.

Nanny's jam is the best thing we'll ever eat!

She was so smart, she used to put out a bowl of necklaces and jewellery for my youngest daughter to play with whenever we would visit with the kids. She would also wear a few necklaces too and she told me it was so she would remember her. It worked. My daughter is also obsessed with jewellery now! Happy memories.

I am immensely grateful I had her in my life for 40 years. I treasure every memory. I am glad I made time, to be with her, spend weekends with her, call her and enjoy her company and conversation.

There are three saved voicemails I managed to keep from her. There's one from on my birthday and everything she says in the message is so perfectly her. Give over Lucy... Don't work today, don't work too hard anyway... Dear Lucy.

I have never had since nor will I ever have the again the very special kind of relationship I had with this most incredible woman, my precious Nan.

If I ever read this again I know I will cry the same tears I am now but I have my Nan in my heart and soul forever. As she once told me about life, "You've got to give love to get it. That's what it's about".