This post is by Nancy Jardine.
What’s your most precious thing?
I got some fantastic gifts for Christmas which I’m already treasuring. My new felt slippers are perfect for keeping my feet warm. They are doubly precious since my younger daughter brought them all the way home from a trip to Germany during the middle of November. She loves to plan her Christmas gifts well in advance.
My elder daughter also planned ahead and bought my Outlander DVD selection around the same November time, having asked what I’d most like as a gift from her. My answer was ‘something small’ since I didn’t really feel I needed anything. My focus at that time was on buying gifts for my grand kids that wouldn’t be duplicated – they aren’t spoiled but they DO have a lot of toys! My buying of the adult gifts was to follow. But, as we all know, you can’t plan for everything and life can throw you some utter horrors.
By the end of November it was clear that the 2015 Christmas Day and Boxing Day dinners weren’t going to be our normal extended family get-togethers. In past years, the mix of attendees has included my daughters and their extended family of in-laws, extra garden tables brought inside to accommodate everyone. In late November 2015, we decided to make very loose scaled down plans for Christmas Day. My older daughter had been desperate to host Christmas Day dinner in her new house (you might remember me blogging about that in summer of 2015) but planning for a full house was abandoned. Santa was still coming for the grandkids, and presents appeared under the trees in both my house and my daughter’s but the Christmas Dinner table was only set for 6 adults and 2 kids- my S-I-Laws brother and partner joining us for a while. At some time during that day most of us went to see ‘granny’ in the hospital.
My two grand children call me ‘Grandma’ and the other one ‘Granny’. After my daughter went back to work last year (her 5 day week job squeezed into 4 long days), Granny and I looked after the kids on those 4 days. Unfortunately, Granny wasn’t able to look after the kids on her official two days a week from early October. She had something wrong with her back so I covered a lot more days of childminding, with my husband also doing his bit. Anyone who has ever looked after a 4 year old girl and a very active 20 month old boy will appreciate how impossible it is to get through a day without lifting one or other child, and much as she wanted to be with the kids, ‘granny’ just couldn’t. I took them to visit her but the visits were a challenge for her and I kept them pretty short. After weeks of physiotherapy and acupuncture, with the knowledge that ‘granny’ had had a diagnosis a couple of years ago of osteoporosis, nothing was working. By late November, it was thought to be a sciatic problem. She needed stronger and stronger pain medication till it got to the point in early December when my son-in-law insisted that she be taken to hospital to have full scans.
Our family world tumbled. A mere 3 days after being admitted to hospital, the full MRI and other scans indicated a broken bone in her back, a possible slipped disc but much worse were the multiple cancers all over her body- most of which were seriously aggressive and incurable. ‘Granny’, who was a paediatric nurse, faced the next weeks with incredible dignity and fortitude. She was a great Christmas planner and tended to buy her gifts from September onwards. She loved to really decorate her house for Christmas, virtually every room. That didn’t happen in 2015, but my son-in-law and his brother made sure to decorate her hospital room with some of her favourite Christmas ornaments.
You can imagine that buying a gift for ‘granny’ was incredibly difficult and my daughter gave me a great prompt. ‘All she really needs are some very recent photos of the kids’. Granny’s selection of photos was as big as the hospital shelving would accommodate. I can’t show them here as my daughter doesn’t like their faces shown but the ones I chose to put into attractive frames took quite a bit of deliberation.
Granny was moved to a hospice before New Year and died on the 6th of January.
What is most precious?
I’d gladly have had no Christmas gifts but I can’t undo what’s happened and we are now coming to terms with filling in the gap left by granny – a very big gap since she was an amazingly sociable person. My granddaughter did lots of special ‘girly’ things with her granny, like shopping and tea parties with granny’s friends. I tend to do the more active, outdoor things with the kids like going for walks up the nearest hills, or playing rough and tumble in the garden. Personally, I hate shopping, always have and avoid it like the plague but fortunately both of my daughters are pretty good at that. I’ll be creating new things to do with the kids and trying to keep memories of granny bright and happy, especially for my very astute granddaughter who although only 4 is bright as a button. She won’t be forgotten and she will be a hard act to follow.
Life is precious and, at times, unable to plan for. Savouring it will be my plan for 2016. I’ll be doing what I can to manage my writing time and intend to enjoy every moment I have with my family, especially my grand kids who are very precious to me. This has been a sad time for me recently. I don’t often write about truly personal family matters but I’m sure you’ll understand – at least I hope so.
So, you can see that the beginning of 2016 wasn’t great for me but as I was getting ready to attend the funeral 2 days ago I received a very positive phone call that jolted me out of the sad cloud. My local school wanted to buy 10 copies of The Taexali Game, my Teen/ YA novel as an addition to their reading scheme. I couldn’t do anything about it last Thursday but I was ready to deal with it yesterday. I’ll now need to be more pro-active in selling my novel to other Primary schools in the area.
Normal life resumes (i.e. as normal as possible).
What’s most precious for you?
Enjoy your weekend!
You can find me at these places: http://nancyjardine.blogspot.co.uk http://nancyjardineauthor.com/ Twitter @nansjar Facebook: http://on.fb.me/XeQdkG and http://on.fb.me/1Kaeh5G (for The Rubidium time Travel Novels.) email: firstname.lastname@example.org