I got the phone call at 4:30am on Christmas day. My Nana had passed away just minutes before. I was expecting the call, as she had been in hospital for over a week, but it still came as a shock. I lay there in bed feeling numb and cold, and then my husband pulled me into a comforting hug. I didn’t have to tell him what the news was, he could tell, so the first thing I said was, “I’m so glad she got to see me get married”.
I know that may seem like a selfish thing to say when someone has just died, but I know that being there for my special day made her very happy.
Nana had lived a 90-year-long life, which although it had been filled with many achievements, a growing relationship with Jesus and seeing children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, it had not been an easy life. She witnessed massive change during her 90 years and fought hard to keep going despite the trials which came her way. She has left a legacy of determination, perseverance, dedication and hope.
Times without number my sisters and I were told stories about her life – I loved sitting on the end of her bed on the mornings when she was visiting, watching her drink her cup of tea and listening to her tell us about the hat shop her aunt worked in; the day she watched the coronation procession of Queen Elizabeth II pass below her father’s office window; the ear-trumpet her grandma used to try to hear with; the fancy dinner and play her dad took her to for her 18th; her handsome solider husband; her treasured home in the country; the two children so long hoped for; her little poodle called Sherry.
Marriage had its hardships for Nana, but never once did I sense that she regretted it. In her own way, she was unfailingly proud of her husband (who I sadly never met, as he died 6 years before I was born) and saw one of her most important dreams fulfilled in being married, having her own home to run and raising two children.
Marriage was such an important part of Nana’s life and she hoped that my sisters and I, her granddaughters, would one day be married too. She spoke so many times of her wedding in a little church in her hometown, of her dress and her honeymoon and she wanted to see us have the same joys.
I loved her very much and she meant a lot ot me, not just because she was my Grandmother, but because I greatly respected her as a person and appreciated all the time she gave me over the years. I don’t regret the time I spent listening to her stories, talking to her on the phone and writing her letters.
I’ll never forget the look on her face when I told her I had a boyfriend and how she immediately checked the rings on my fingers to see if L was more than just a boyfriend! 😉 She was so keen to meet him and always asked after him. Nana was one of the people I made sure I called myself to tell her the news – I was engaged, so now I DID have a ring on my finger! I could hear the quiver of pleasure in her voice as she told me how lucky I was (amen! 😉 ) and the deep content when I told her of our plans to get married and have a home. Nana was so happy to see a granddaughter preparing to get married!
Originally, L and I were planning on getting married this April (April ’11), but because L’s grandmother has lung disease and we weren’t sure if she would be here to see our wedding in April (and this had nothing to do with me wanting to get married *right now* and not wait 11 months …), we decided to move the wedding forward to September ’10. Luke’s grandmother is doing very well and staying active and happy, and it was my Grandmother who died.
In the months and weeks coming up to our wedding, Nana talked to the nursing home staff about L, myself and the wedding so much, that I think the staff must have been secretly very relieved to have the four months between our engagement and wedding finally come to an end!! 😀
As the sadness that Nana had passed away and the great thankfulness that she had seen me get married came over me, I was grateful for all the memories I have of her and the knowledge that without a doubt, she is now enjoying a new life in Heaven. As my Mum cleared out her room and sorted through her stuff, I got to see many photos I’d half forgotten about, of my sisters and I with Nana when we were growing up and of Nana and I when I was older.
I remembered that, when I took L to meet Nana, she gave me a copy of her favourite photo of my older sister and I in matching dresses when we were little. It was at this point that I realised that in all the planning and stress before the wedding, I had missed some important photos of my wedding list – photos of L and I with our grandparents! I was devastated – I didn’t have a photo of Nana and myself, on what she viewed as the most important day of my life. I was really quite upset at this realisation, but pushed it to the back of my mind as life went on.
Last week the lady which helped the main photographer at our wedding, gave us a disk of photos that she had been editing for us. There are so many beautiful photos of our wedding – not to mention the 100’s of gorgeous photos our main photographer gave us at Christmas!! – and she has done a wonderful job on the editing!
There was one photo, however, which made me gasp and is the one that filled me with the most joy as I was looking at them for the first time last night: a photo of me talking to Nana – on my wedding day!
It is one of those moments which can only have been put into action by a loving, gracious God! He knew, back then in September, what it would mean to me to have this photo, right here and now in March. Only God knew on that day, that Nana wasn’t going to live to see 2011, and I believe He was the One who prompted LF to capture this moment!
As I was sitting on my sofa last night, smiling and so happy because after all, I had a photo of Nana and I together on my wedding, I think God was smiling too!