Monday, 20 June 2016

To my Nana.

Born in the year of the assassination of Michael Collins and the formation of the Irish Free State, 
my Nana lived through a time of great change and history, not only in Ireland but globally.

She viewed a rich tapestry of world history throughout her life that we now can only read of in books or view in faded black and white photographs.

Nana wouldn't have been impressed that I started this ode by mentioning the name of Michael Collins. A woman from a staunchly pro- De Valera household, the thought of the current history books teaching the praises of Collins and the flaws of de Valera was a shock to her. One particular afternoon just after my Leaving Cert, I sat with her and discussed Irish history and the change in the opinions of school history books. 

This wasn't new. My childhood conversations with my Nana revolved around conversations of 'The Emergency' as the Second World War was called in Ireland,, ration books, Eamon de Valera, Michael Collins, tales of the evils of the Black and Tans and everything in between. 

As a child, history was a massive passion for me. Having a Nana that lived through what I read in the history books in school never ceased to amaze me. Having a person who lived in the eras that we learned about in school and talking to my Nana about these events was truly magical.

The opportunity to discuss events with my Nana who lived through such a time of societal change and advancement was a privilege to say the least.  

Yet, these wonderful people can't live forever. Ní bhíonn in aon rud ach seal.

 Despite our wishes, the people who experienced decades of history and life, fall ill and must depart this life. One of these people was recently my Nana who passed away on June 12th 2016. 

June 12th always was important for me, it was the day that my childhood idol, Anne Frank was born on in 1929 and it's the anniversary of my parent's wedding, this year being their 25th. With all these reminders, I highly doubt I'll ever forget the date. 

No matter how old our grandparents and other loved ones are, we never really want to let them go. Even if they are 94, we can't bear with the thought of saying goodbye. Because saying goodbye means that it is the end, that it is in essence, over. 

Yet it can never be over. A life may end in the physical sense, the heartbeat that was so strong may have ended.
But they live on in the memories of others.
Flashes of sporadic memories, picking weeds in childhood, to hospital visits and various discussions related to history. 

The thought that when I visit, Nana won't be lying on the sofa is a strange concept. That she is gone is well frankly, upsetting.

The phrase, 'an end of an era' was a phrase thrown around for days afterwards. it was quite true. 94 years was a long time, a life containing a wealth of knowledge, memories and recollections.

A myriad of memories have come back to the fore in my mind, both old and new. The oldest are just as emotionally intense as the new ones.

We must preserve these memories and keep them safe. Cherish the times you have with your loved ones, because they could be taken away from you as quickly as anything.

It is with a lump in my throat and a heavy heart that I must say goodbye to my Nana

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a h-anam

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