When No1 son was 18 months old I became a single mum (through choice). I needed to earn a living but my mother lived in Cheshire and my son's biological father & his parents were refusing to help us in any way, shape or form. I was desperate, a friend of mine at the time said she was sure her parents would be happy to help me out with some childcare. I had met her parents they were the kind of people that you instantly take to. They had a warm, loving family home always filled with family, friends and grandchildren. Nothing was too much trouble, food was always on offer and they welcomed us into their fold as if we were family.
Nanna Jill and Uncle John as they became known looked after Jacob for me two days a week for a year, they refused payment of any kind, but I found ways (giving them M & S vouchers etc). When Jacob was 2.5 he moved onto kindergarten and a new chapter of our life began.
Over the years we haven't seen Nanna Jill & Uncle John as much as we should have considering how generous they had been to us. We saw them from time to time and around town. They had terrible tragedy in their life when two of their grandchildren died (one as a toddler and one as a teenager ) but they were always positive about life whenever I saw them. A few weeks ago John died after a short battle with cancer. I was told by a friend of the family and asked if I wanted to go to his funeral. I felt I couldn't go, that somehow it was a bit like being an ambulance chaser as I hadn't kept in touch with them as I should have. I felt, I feel, guilt that I wasn't the friend I should have been to them considering how kind they were to me when I most needed help. What would I say. I realise now it was my feelings I was concerned about. I should have gone to the funeral to pay my respects to a kind, generous and funny man. Yesterday I saw Nanna Jill in the park. As she walked towards me it dawned on me who she was, almost changed beyond recognition. She grabbed me in a big hug and we talked for a long, long time about John, how she felt, what had happened, so many words. Her parting words to me " tell each other every day how much you love them".
I was also with another very special lady at the weekend who has recently lost her mother and is grieving terribly, because we were involved in a busy event and had our children, there never seemed the right moment to talk to her about her mum and I was scared that if I picked the wrong moment to mention mum she might be upset. I should have gone ahead anyway.
I come from a really small family I have been blessed to get this far in my life without loosing a close member of my immediate family. I can't imagine the pain it causes. So instead of putting the twins in club next week during the school holidays I have changed my plans. We are going to Cheshire to visit Grandma.
I have this sign in my home, I try to live by it every day.