Yesterday I lost my Great Nanna. The woman I was named after. The matriarch of our family. The greatest banana-sandwich-maker the world will ever know. The woman that collected coins all year round so that she could send a little bag of them to each of her great-grandchildren at Christmas. A woman with beautiful, cursive handwriting (a dying art if you ask me), who wrote letters that I still have stashed away in my memory box.
A mother, a grandmother, a great grandmother, and even a great-great grandmother.
I asked one of her daughters what her mother was like growing up. She replied ‘She was a tiger, and she was the best mother anyone could ask for’. That’s a damn good summary if you ask me.
My great nanna was the head of a long line of women that I feel privileged to not only call my family, but my best friends. I hope to take strengths from each of these women.
From my Great nanna I hope to take resilience. No matter what was thrown at her, she just kept going. She raised her children amazingly. She fought against obstacle after obstacle. She was stubborn in the very best way.
From my Nanna I hope to take strength. My Nan has lost too many. She shows incredible strength through the darkest of times and even though I know she doesn’t realise it – and she wouldn’t believe me because she’s too modest – she is so inspirational to me.
I hope for a heart as big as my mums. My mother is the most loving, caring, empathetic person I know. She always puts others needs ahead of her own. She will drop everything if I say I need her. She is everybody’s rock. Whilst I wish she would allow herself the love that she gives to others, I am incredibly grateful for her endless, unconditional, and monumental love.
My sister is my shield. I hope to have her courage. She truly understands – or makes it her mission to try to understand – how my crazy little brain works. When anxiety takes control she’s there to be my mental body guard. If I’m paralyzed, she’ll play puppet master for me. So often I wish for her courage, but until that day comes, I know she’s got my back.
Death makes you re-evaluate life. These are the strengths I want to work towards. The strengths I want for my children. The strengths I want to be known for one day.
I’m going to miss my Great Nanna an insane amount, she was a wonderful person. If I end up being even half as amazing as her and the other women that inspire me, I’ll be a happy woman.
My Great Nan is at peace now, surrounded by loved ones,wherever she is, no doubt having a laugh.
And we will all continue to laugh, and sing, and love – because she showed us how.