Four Days! I Lost Four Days!!!

I think I just lost bragging rights to this blog.  When people ask me what I’ve been doing lately, I tell them, oh, you know, looking for a job, writing my blog almost every day.  Which would serve to indicate that I’ve been writing it every other day.  Which was fairly true.  Until The Dead Swan post. 

I thought I’d better write another post as it’s been a day or two since then.  Or more like four days!!  One of the phrases we all come out with, especially as we get older is “Doesn’t time go so fast!”  Usually in reference to how much a friend’s child has grown, having gone from nappies to after-school football, or the impending tenth anniversary of a wedding you attended which seemed like yesterday.  Another common phrase, muttered by the older generation (including myself in that, anyone 30+ is, let’s face it getting old.  Kids and teenagers and those twenty-somethings are just young and having fun), is “Life’s too short.”

It truly is.  My nana died last year, my last remaining grandparent.  She reached the grand old age of 83 but for her, life really was too short.  I remember how she would tell me stories of her time in the WAFs during the war, how she left her husband with five young boys in the middle of the night, how she wishes she had learnt to drive.  She was 68 when she suffered a heart attack, caused by smoking.  But you know what, she gave up the evil weed, and when she was 70, took her second ever plane journey, having been put off planes by flying in one when she was very young, I’m guessing during the 40s or 50s, before the days of the in-flight movie. 

So she went off on holiday with one of my uncles and his girlfriend.  My Nana absolutely loved it.  She wondered why she’d spent 70 years pottering around the UK on holidays.  After that, she went on holidays abroad every year, with my mum and dad, my brother, Baz and me, with my uncles. 

My nana was 80 when I told her that it was my dream to go and live in the United States, had always been my dream.  Which happened to coincide with my cousin, Naomi, telling Nana that she was moving to Australia.  Nana always used to say that it was us girls who used to write to her, she’d never hear anything from the boys.  I felt sad that her two granddaughters were going to be living the other sides of the world. 

But Nana told us both that we should do it.  That she wishes she’d lived abroad.  The way this country is going, if you can have a better life by moving to Australia or America, then do it. 

So Naomi moved to Perth, Australia.  I know it’s been extremely hard for her at times but she’s got a great new life for her and her two boys, of which my Nana would be proud. 

In January 2010, I went to the States to study abroad for a semester, as part of my American Studies degree.  I said goodbye to my Nana, see you when I get back, although there was a part of me that prayed that she would still be here. 

In March, a few days after I returned from my Spring Break trip to New York and Boston, my Dad called me on Skype.  My Nana had been in hospital since not long after I’d left for the US.  But now she was being sent home, because there was nothing more they could do.  Old age had finally caught up with my beloved Nana. 

The first thing I did was to book a flight home.  For me there was no choice in the matter, I had to see her, to say a proper goodbye.

I got on the train at Huntingdon, and spent the next six and a half hours on the railroad to New York.  As I took the Subway to JFK, I started to scribble down ideas in my notebook, for a TV show.  The plot, character names, the setting. 

When I returned home to Lincolnshire, my dad took my over to see Nana.  She was so frail, I had never seen her like that.  She couldn’t really talk too much, although I could see in her eyes that she was still taking things in. 

So I talked to her.  I told her about Juniata College, my new friends, my Spring Break trip.  I told her about the literature classes I was taking, about my favourite class, Women and Literature.  I told her, “I know what I want to do with my life now, Nana.  I want to be a writer.”

She smiled, and said, “I always wanted to be a writer.” 

The tears which have been building as I’ve been writing this are now flowing.  I miss her so much. It’s been almost a year since her passing.  I know she’s up there, looking down on me and my cousins, my dad, my mum, my uncles.  My brother, Baz and Emma, expecting their first baby. 

Life really is too short.  I always thought my Nana would be there forever.  Even if she couldn’t always remember what she did yesterday, she could tell me what she was doing in June 1954, April 1965, December 1973.  As though it was yesterday.

For all those who think I’m crazy, giving up my job, suspending my studies, travelling halfway across the world to see a band play then not even staying for the gig…you’re right.  Iamcrazy.  But I have 50 years until I reach the age my Nana was when she died.  I guarantee you, when she was 33, she had so many plans and things she wanted to do with her life.  Some of which were still just dreams, even in her old age.

I’ve already had 33 years of my life.  Although I may not be where I want to be, doing what I want to be doing, not a day has been wasted; everything has brought me to the place I am now.  Uncertain of anything except that I want to be a writer.  Just like my Nana wanted to be a writer.  So I’m going to follow my dream, no matter how hard.  Not just for me.  But for my Nana too.

Rest in Peace, Elizabeth Powell 17/08/1927 – 27/03/2011


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