113 weeks and 6 days | Death and taxes plus tiny miracles

Nothing is certain but death and taxes — that’s how the age old adage goes isn’t it?

It’s a pretty bleak proverb but never a truer word was spoken, that’s for sure.

We lost my nana this weekend. She passed away at around 6am on Saturday morning. She would have been 94 exactly a month today so it’s not wholly unsurprising that she’s gone but I still feel so very sad about it.

That said, I will admit to feeling much sadder about my grandad’s death. Even though he was the same age — almost 93 when he died — it really wasn’t his time.

28th May 2011.

Etched in my memory because this is also the date that my beautiful boy and I celebrate getting together. It was the day that we started going out with each other, nearly 20 years ago and we have celebrated it ever since.

And now it has another poignant meaning. It’s the day my grandad — the man my first born son is named after — passed away.

He’d broken his collarbone whilst trying to lift a fence panel that had blown over in the wind, ended up in hospital and was moved to a ward that had had an outbreak of Norovirus.

The rest, as they say, is history.

I was devastated. My amazing, blue eyed, grandpa — who’d been sent to North Africa in the 2nd World War. The furthest he would ever travel, it turned out.

His death was all wrong. He wasn’t ill — he was the most sprightly OAP I’ve ever come across — with a lightening quick mind and all his faculties. It was a terrible twist of fate that he’d ended up in in the UK’s most notorious hospital — Stafford — just after an outbreak of a virus, that ended up killing him.

And the thing that I just couldn’t come to terms with was the fact that my nana — the woman he’d been married to for 66 years — the love of his life, was left alone. Without her husband. I cried buckets about it. It was just so sad.

Death and taxes

Death and taxes plus tiny miracles | Bert & Alice’s wedding photo, 1945

My nana’s passing is just so different.

Although she’s been ill, on and off, for a year now, she wasn’t gravely ill. She was still chatty and ‘with it’. She didn’t really go into a steep decline until just over a week ago, when the doctor ordered a syringe driver. A palliative care device, giving a shot of morphine every time her pain levels became too severe. And once that’s in place, as my mum sagely noted, it marks the beginning of the end.

Which it did.

When my mum called on Saturday to say that nan had gone, I felt a strange mix of emotions. I felt great sadness that my single, remaining grandparent had gone.  Anger that I wasn’t going to see her again. Sympathy for my mum, who’d just lost her own mother (both her parents, now, in fact). And I felt relief that my nana’s suffering was over. In more sense that one. Her pain was gone and her loneliness — without her beloved Bert — went with it.

She’d had such an amazing life. The best part of a century, living through times that we’ll (hopefully) never see in this country again.

She’d been ‘in service’. A real life maid from real life ‘Upstairs Downstairs’; working in a big house, for people born into a life so different from her own.

In the war she joined the WAAF — the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force — something that she spoke about with great fondness and pride.

Death and taxes

Death and taxes plus tiny miracles | Nan (right) in the WAAF

The things she’s seen over the years are extraordinary. And she was my nana. How lucky was I to have such a brilliant and interesting relative? For so long too.

But now she’s gone.

This could be seen as a tragic tale but I’ll leave you with a little something that happened yesterday. Something that left me with an enormous grin on my face.

My mum and auntie went to the funeral director’s in the morning to make the funeral arrangements. They chatted about the service, the flowers, whether they should have pallbearers or not. And upon discussing the date, the options given were Thursday or Friday of next week.

My mum and auntie both agreed that Thursday would probably suit everyone the best so the gentleman went to get the diary, to make a note of it.

Upon his return he said to my mum, ‘OK. All booked in then, Next Thursday, the 28th May.’

28th May.

To say that this is a coincidence doesn’t quite do it justice. If I was asking for a little sign that my lovely nan and grandad are back together, this is most surely it. Saying goodbye to nan on the exact day that we lost my grandad is absolutely poetic.

And given it’s the day that my boy and I celebrate our own union — our own love-story — makes me so happy. A tiny miracle if you will. My nan is now back with my grandad and all is well.

Rest in peace xxxx

Death and taxes

Death and taxes plus tiny miracles | My lovely nan

Caro Davies

Caro Davies art directed fashion and interiors before leaving the world of design to pursue a career in social media. She can now be found chasing the light — and two small twin boys.

Find me on: Twitter | Facebook

73 Comments

  1. 19th May 2015 / 6:48 am

    Caro, my deepest sympathy. Losing your last grandparent when you have had them into adulthood is so very sad. But you are lucky as you say to have had such a good relationship and to be able to be appreciative of the time you had with you Nana and Grandad.
    I had all 4 grandparents till I was 26. The last to go was my maternal grandmother at the age of 93 last November. It felt like such a shift in the whole family. She had been the center of the family and everyone loved her. It was wonderful to hear stories about her from all the people at the funeral.
    I’m sure you will have a similar experience. Your Nana sounds like she was an extraordinary lady.

    • 19th May 2015 / 10:32 am

      Thanks so much Fi — that’s lovely of you. It’s so sad isn’t it, when they’re all gone? A whole generation of a family gone. But, as you say, I’m so lucky to have had them in my life for as long as I did xx

  2. Mackenzie Glanville (reflectionsfromme.com)
    19th May 2015 / 7:10 am

    I am so sorry to read about your loss, I really loved the photographs, so special and what a wonderful coincidence for you, bless you and warm wishes to all your family xx

    • 19th May 2015 / 10:29 am

      Thanks darling — that’s lovely of you. I’m so sad to lose her but she was such a great age. We all have to go at some point don’t we? Glad she had a full and long life x

  3. 19th May 2015 / 7:21 am

    What a lovely post and tribute.

    Made me cry just reading it. A definite sign that your grandparents are together, wherever they are now.

    Much love

    x

    • 19th May 2015 / 10:27 am

      Aaah thanks so much Lora :) I feel totally at peace with it and happy that they’re back with each other :) xx

  4. 19th May 2015 / 7:31 am

    So sorry for both your losses. How awful that your Granddad got sicker in hospital. Beautiful photos. Take care *hugs*

    #twinklytuesday

    • 19th May 2015 / 10:13 am

      Thank you. And yes — awful, ridiculous and utterly heartbreaking. I was SO angry. Although it’s all made better knowing that he and my nan are back together now :) x

  5. 19th May 2015 / 7:42 am

    So sory to read about your Nan lovely, what a lovely tribute to them both. Those photos from the war are fab. #twinklytuesday

    • 19th May 2015 / 10:14 am

      Thanks Karen. Times like this I LOVE my blog so much :) It’s lovely to be able to write things down — and add the photos too. Just like a diary — only better! x

  6. 19th May 2015 / 8:23 am

    oh I’m so sorry to read this. What a time it’s been lately eh!!! No matter the age, or indeed whether it was ‘their time’ or out of the blue, it’s a horribly sad time. But also, wow, I totally agree that if ever there were a sign they’re back together again, that was it. I love to believe in these little things and to be honest, sometimes they’re what gets me through the tougher times. Sending lots of hugs, Steph

    • 19th May 2015 / 10:17 am

      Thanks Steph. Yep — we’re all having a bit of a torrid time aren’t we? Although it’s totally made better by the date. I just can’t believe it. Most certainly a little sign from the universe to say that all is well xx

  7. 19th May 2015 / 8:54 am

    So sorry for you loss. It’s so nice that she is back with her love now though. I am so fortunate to never lose a grandparent, I honestly don’t know what I will do when I do!! I love those photos and your Grandpa was a very handsome man! :-) #twinklytuesday x

    • 19th May 2015 / 10:19 am

      You’re so lucky Sophie! I lost my paternal grandad when I was 8. I was so lucky that the other 3 stayed around for much longer! My granny was 97 when she died and my nana and grandad both 93. Amazing ages! x

  8. 19th May 2015 / 9:20 am

    So sorry to hear of your losses. What a lovely post to remember them with. Hugs #twinklytuesday xx

    • 19th May 2015 / 10:21 am

      Thanks so much Rachel — that’s really lovely of you x

  9. 19th May 2015 / 9:27 am

    Ah Caro, what a beautiful tribute to your Nan, I have tears in my eyes. The fact they have booked the funeral on that day, definitley a sign that they will be together again. I’m so sorry for your loss but it does sound like she had any an amazing life and like you say maybe a little easier when it isn’t such an awful shock like your Grandad. And gosh, you look just like her in that old photograph! Lots of love xxx

    • 19th May 2015 / 10:22 am

      Amazing eh? I just can’t get over it Hayley!! I kept saying to my mum on the phone… ‘I’m so happy! I’m just SO happy!!’ — I think she thought I’d gone mad!! ;) X

  10. 19th May 2015 / 9:31 am

    Oh Caro. I can’t wait to see you and give you a massive hug!
    The people that we love have a way of letting us know they’ve ‘arrived safely’ :-)
    I’ll be thinking of your nana and grandpa on Thursday and ill be smiling for them xxxx

    • 19th May 2015 / 10:23 am

      Thanks Katie darling — likewise! :) It’s a lovely bit of symmetry isn’t it? I feel so thankful to have had a little sign to say all is well.

  11. 19th May 2015 / 9:32 am

    So sorry for your loss, and what a coincidence (or not) that you’ll be saying goodbye to your grandmother on the anniversary of your grandad! #twinklytuesday

    • 19th May 2015 / 10:24 am

      Thank you so much Carolyn. Amazing isn’t it? I feel very grateful to have had them both in my life for so long x

  12. 19th May 2015 / 10:20 am

    So sorry to hear this Caro.Your nana sounds like an amazing woman and you have some great old photos. My nan passed away a couple weeks ago so I got quite emotional reading this. We can both be happy that they are with their lovely husbands again now,back together at last. Thinking of you xx #TwinklyTuesday

    • 19th May 2015 / 10:26 am

      Thank you so much Wendy. I’m so sorry for your loss too. But, as you say, we can take comfort in the knowledge that they will, most definitely, be together again xx

  13. 19th May 2015 / 10:20 am

    Aaah thanks so much lovely! It’s bittersweet, isn’t it? Such a sad thing — inevitable but still very sad — made 100% better by the date that it fell on. Just extraordinary! X

  14. John Milnes
    19th May 2015 / 11:31 am

    I know what it’s like to loose grandparents and parents. I lost both my parents about the age I was 29.

    On different note, I have recently got a load of photographs of my parents wedding from 1972. I have also managed to find my granddads Royal Marine records and ID badge. That was an eye watering moment for not only me but my wife also. I have been waiting years to see these photo’s and now I have them. A small miracle, now that I have these family treasures.

    • 19th May 2015 / 11:37 am

      Thanks so much John. It’s so sad isn’t it? Death is an inevitably of life but it doesn’t make it any easier to bear. Amazing that you found all those family treasures!! What a fantastic legacy!! :)

  15. 19th May 2015 / 12:43 pm

    So sorry for your loss but what a lovely tribute of a post to both your grandparents! I too take great solace in finding a deeper meaning or something that seemingly fits together *just* right like the dates. It’s beautiful to think of them being reunited together again xx #twinklytuesday

    • 19th May 2015 / 5:21 pm

      Thank you so much. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so at peace with a close family member dying before. Usually it’s awful and I feel grief stricken but this feels so peaceful. It’s the right time for her to go. 100%.

  16. 19th May 2015 / 12:49 pm

    Really sorry to read this sad news :( It’s so hard losing anyone, no matter their age and even if you are slightly prepared sometimes. Lovely post and very special to read it. Hope you’re Ok – big hugs lovely xx #twinklytuesday

    • 19th May 2015 / 5:29 pm

      Aah thanks so much pet. It’s really, really fine. I think it will be a sad day when we say goodbye but at the moment I feel very peaceful about her passing. Thank you xxx

  17. 19th May 2015 / 1:24 pm

    Caro, this is such a beautiful tribute to your lovely nana and I am so sorry for your loss. She sounds like she was a wonderful lady and I’m glad that the little sign of her funeral date has given you comfort, knowing that she has been reunited with your granddad, and that it is a day that is significant for you too. Sending you big hugs my lovely xx

    • 19th May 2015 / 5:33 pm

      Thanks so much Louise. She was amazing and I’m so happy she had a relatively dignified end. Losing someone is never easy but it was definitely the right time xx

  18. Eimear
    19th May 2015 / 2:15 pm

    I lost my nana and last remaining grandparent almost two years ago now, she was a strong and outgoing woman before the throws of old age set in, still makes me sad. We buried her on her 90th birthday, amazingly we had celebrated the weekend of her birthday every year since her 80th so its like she choose that weekend to slip away as she knew we’d all be there to celebrate anyway, we carreid on the tradition now to mark her anniversary and her birthday. #TwinklyTuesday

    • 19th May 2015 / 5:38 pm

      It’s SO weird isn’t, how things like this happen? I totally think it all happens for a reason!! When my grandad passed away on our anniversary I couldn’t believe it!! It was almost as though he was saying… ‘Ha! Now you’ll never forget me! ;)’ — as if I ever would?! x

  19. Stacey-Mums blind love
    19th May 2015 / 2:44 pm

    So sorry to read about your loss but what a lovely post and tribute. xx #twinklytuesdays

    • 19th May 2015 / 5:40 pm

      Thank you Sian — that’s lovely of you to say. I shall miss her so much x

  20. 19th May 2015 / 3:40 pm

    This was so beautifully written! Your grandmother sounds amazing and I’m so pleased she gets to be with her sweetheart again! Losing people you love will never be easy, but it’s those small miracles (May 28th) that help lessen the sorrow. I hope your heart won’t ache too terribly for too long. Sending you love from across the way.

    • 19th May 2015 / 6:33 pm

      Thanks so much Heather! I couldn’t agree more. Thanks to that little coincidence I feel much happier about her passing. Thank you xxx

  21. 19th May 2015 / 5:18 pm

    As you already know, I am so sorry for your loss. This is such a beautiful post with such wonderful memories and captured moments. I’m so glad that in light of the sadness, the funeral day will share such an important date in so many ways. Sending you lots of love lady – thanks for sharing this wonderful post on our wonderful linky :) xxxx

    • 19th May 2015 / 11:04 pm

      Thanks SO much darling — I really appreciate it. I don’t think I’ve ever felt more at peace with the passing of a loved one. I felt so sad but after being told the date of the funeral, I just feel so ridiculously happy! It’s miraculous!! :) X

  22. 19th May 2015 / 5:26 pm

    Caro, sending you lots of sympathy and hugs. How beautifully poetic though. Thank you for sharing those beautiful photographs as well, I love old war photos and wedding ones xx

    • 19th May 2015 / 7:31 pm

      Thanks so much Laura — thats really lovely of you. I love old photos too — especially when it’s my own family!! :)

  23. LittleOandMe
    19th May 2015 / 7:59 pm

    This post gave me goose-bumps, so wonderfully written. Your Granddad was rather handsome wasn’t he!? I am sending my love to you and your family and it’s so lovely that Bert and Alice will be reunited again.
    #TwinklyTuesday
    xx

    • 19th May 2015 / 10:50 pm

      Aaah this comment made me smile! Bless my grandad — he was handsome. And he had the bluest eyes I’ve ever seen. The colour of forget-me-nots. He was absolutely lovely. ‘Golden’ my nan used to say. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to think that they’re together. It broke my heart that they’d been separated. Thanks so much for your lovely words xx

  24. Ashley Beolens
    19th May 2015 / 8:34 pm

    So sorry for your loss(es), losing someone is always tough, be it sudden or watching them decline.

    • 19th May 2015 / 10:53 pm

      Thanks so much Ashley. It definitely felt harder when my grandad went — I was absolutely devastated. If only for the fact that my nana had lost the love of her life. This feels much happier, in a weird way. I’m so happy to think they’ve been reunited.

  25. 19th May 2015 / 9:35 pm

    Ah RIP Nanna, Caro I am crying reading this, my Nan was so angry at my Granddad for leaving her bless her, you can see she misses him more than words. Although we never want to loose our loved ones the thought of them being reunited is such a lovely thought x

    • 19th May 2015 / 11:00 pm

      Oh Sarah — my nana was too!!! We ALL were!! Especially as she’s told him NOT to go and lift the fence panel!! ‘DON’T YOU DARE BERT!’ But he still did it. And look what happened…
      She will be giving him a ROYAL bollocking, that’s for sure ;) I hope your nanna is reunited with her love one day too xxx

  26. 19th May 2015 / 9:41 pm

    im so sorry for your loss hun it never easy even when they’ve had a good long life, I love that silver lining though what a sign xx

    • 19th May 2015 / 11:01 pm

      Yes — she did have an amazingly long life. By her own admission, she was a sickly child and wasn’t expected to live very long!!She proved everybody wrong!! :) X

  27. 19th May 2015 / 11:19 pm

    Oh lovely, I am sorry. Much love to you. A gorgeous post though and beautiful tribute. XX

  28. 20th May 2015 / 11:26 am

    I’m so very sorry for your loss. That’s just awful that your grandpa got sicker in the hospital :( Your grandmother sounds like she was an incredible woman, the photos are fantastic. #TwinklyTuesday

    • 20th May 2015 / 3:08 pm

      Thanks so much Becky. Yep — the fact that Grandad was totally well (apart from having a dislocated collarbone) when he went into hospital still makes me mad. It really wasn’t his time — it was really tragic.Thanks for your comment xx

  29. 20th May 2015 / 11:53 am

    What a beautiful post and a lovely way to remember two special people. Im so sorry for your loss of your nana and also your grandad. It sounds like they lived life to the full and were very much in love (the wedding photo is lovely). Its strange how life seems to work out to be quite poetic sometimes- what a co-incidence with the dates!! #twinklytuesday

    • 20th May 2015 / 3:09 pm

      Thanks Kate — the dates are the thing that has made the whole situation easier to bear, to be honest! I still can’t quite believe it! :)

  30. 21st May 2015 / 7:06 pm

    Oh, Caro, I’m so sorry for your loss, but deeply moved that you were able to see the joy in it. What an amazing woman your Nan was! And how tragic your grandfather’s death. :( I loss a great uncle in similarly unthinkable circumstances and it still eats at me.

    Lots of love from Texas. #TwinklyTuesday.

    • 22nd May 2015 / 1:28 pm

      Thanks so much Sadia. I feel much more peaceful about my nana’s death than I (still) do about my grandad’s. He really shouldn’t have been put in that situation. It makes me cross even now. But at least they’re together again. That’s a lovely thought.

  31. 21st May 2015 / 10:55 pm

    So sorry to hear about your loss but what an amazing story! I think that generation lived through the most terrifying, unifying of times – and they definitely have their stories. My last grandparent, my Nana, passed on in 2003 at 86 but there are still reminders of her in everyday life. So lovely that the dates all come together – maybe a coincidence but a fitting one. Xx

    • 22nd May 2015 / 1:26 pm

      Thanks Sam. They really did — they went through things that we’ll (hopefully) never see. And they were SO stoic about it! They were an amazing generation. So sad that my grandparents have now all passed on. A whole generation of family, gone forever.

  32. 22nd May 2015 / 7:40 am

    What a truly lovely post and I’m so sorry for your loss, it’s never easy. It’s the little things we find make us feel better about death, for you it’s the date, 28th May. Those little signs truly do come from above to help keep us smiling. Some really love pictures you have too #twinklytuesday

    • 22nd May 2015 / 1:24 pm

      Thanks Jade. It may well just be a coincidence but I really can’t help feeling that it’s a little sign. Certainly make me feel better to think that way, that’s for sure! :) x

  33. 22nd May 2015 / 11:46 am

    So very sorry for your loss. I had tears in my eyes reading this. It sounds like two amazingly wonderful people are back together and how lovely of them to give you a sign and let you all know.

    • 22nd May 2015 / 1:23 pm

      Thanks so much Jenni — I really appreciate your lovely words xx

  34. 25th May 2015 / 11:13 pm

    I feel so emotional reading this, what a beautiful tribute to both your grandparents and so wonderfully written. As you say, your nana will be reunited with her beloved Bert now. I shall be thinking of you on Thursday. All my love xxx

    • 26th May 2015 / 1:50 pm

      Thanks so much darling. It was emotional writing it but I can’t tell you how peaceful I feel about the whole thing. It feels like everything is as it should be now. It is a very much different situation to when my grandad went. I’m so happy they’re together again now xx

  35. 26th May 2015 / 8:24 pm

    I am so very sorry for your loss. But sounds like a beautiful life has been led and full one too. Love the photographs and story. Great tribute. Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me. I hope to see you again tomorrow for another great round #sharewithme

    • 27th May 2015 / 9:14 am

      Thanks so much Jenny — I really appreciate that. Saying goodbye to her tomorrow, I think it will be a very sad day xx

  36. 14th June 2015 / 6:58 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss. Some things are meant to be and I am so happy they are reunited and in peace. Thank you for sharing with #CountLuckyStars and we hope to see you again on Tuesday 16th x

    • 14th June 2015 / 7:50 pm

      Thanks so much Kerri-Ann — that’s really lovely of you. It was so sad but certainly made better by the dates… made me feel so happy to think of them back together. Thanks for hosting xx

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.