Tag Archives: Nanna

A Morning Surprise

Yesterday morning I received a really nice surprise. Although I was told it would happen some time this month, to be honest I had forgotten as slowly September passed by, so it really did take me by surprise.

Since my Nanna was buried earlier this year, back on the 12th March, I’ve visited her graveside almost daily ever since, I walk that way to work, so I take a small detour and spend a few minutes there.

For months there has been just a patch of earth, slowly as the weeks passed, it gradually became covered by grass and the flowers my family leave each week, but no headstone. A couple of months ago I asked my Mum when the headstone was arriving, she said sometime in September, adding that the ground had to harden first.

So Friday morning it looked just as had over the last few months, but yesterday morning as I approached it all looked very different, all the flowers had moved and when I got closer I saw the new headstone.

She shares a grave with her first husband and my Grandad, who died back in 1957 (when my Mum was just five), I remember so many times going with my Nan to tend his grave, she always kept it neat and tidy, but he never had a headstone, just a small stone vase with an inscription, they were quite poor and I guess she couldn’t afford much at the time. Now they share a new headstone over the grave they share together (with the vase moved to the foot of the grave).



As I read the inscription, I have to say it brought a tear to my eye.

My Nanna never stopped, even when she was approaching ninety she would get the bus into town to go shopping, almost daily up until she had a knee replacement a few years back.

Even when she retired and moved into a bungalow, I remember going with her to arrange bingo and other activities for fellow pensioners. She even mowed lawns (generally with a push mower) and shopped for her neighbours well into her late seventies, until my Mum and her sisters made her slow down, but that was only after she suffered a fall.

A month or so ago I noticed that the grass was growing nicely over the grave, except for one area, down at her feet. I thought that was funny, as my Nanna never seemed to stop to rest long enough to let the grass grow under her feet, so I told it was okay now, she was now free to rest, since then it seems the grass has started to grow there.

When I got back home yesterday, I was quite eager to listen to the new Newsboys album, I was actually a little disappointed, until I heared this song and it made me think of Nanna.

THAT HOME by NEWSBOYSThere was a home in town
Where broken kids, the lost & found
Would come from miles around
Just to see, what love was all about
‘Cause Momma had a way of makin’ things okay

She’d cook us our favorite meal
Sit and listen to how we feel
Oh, how the pain was real
How many families what the devil steal?
Momma had a way of makin’ things okay

In that home
We knew we were safe
To be young enough to dream
Find the faith to believe
And in that home
Love, it had no end
It’s where we learned to forgive
In that home

Momma always had the music on
Sometimes loud, sometimes soft
When I asked her ’bout her favorite song
She opened the bible to the book of Psalms
She always found a way to talk about grace

In that home
We knew we were safe
To be young enough to dream
Find the faith to believe
And in that home
Love, it had no end
That’s where we learned to forgive
In that home

And on that day I got the news
That Momma’s stay here was almost through
I stayed all night by her side
Held her hand, looked in her eyes
And said, Momma

When you’re home
I know you’ll be safe
Strong enough to see
The faith that you believed
And in that home
Life will have no end
I know I’ll see you again

In that home

May Angels Lead You In

I don’t really have a lot to say tonight, it seems to have been a long hard day, waking in the middle of the night again didn’t help, even after an early night, at half past one I was running with a poem in my head, I put it on here, then still not able to switch off added to a poem I started with a few weeks ago, then I had just two verses, I added a few more then finally finished it this morning.

My Nanna’s funeral went really well, I thought I was doing okay to hold it all together, but then whilst waiting at my Aunt’s house, it hit me when the coffin arrived, from that point I was fighting the tears all the way, they finally flowed at the Church and then at the cemetery.

I’m so tired now, when I got home I slept for over two hours, only to wake feeling so drained and numb, it was hard to even walk or move about.  That’s unsteadyness lifted now, but I still feel so worn and tired.

My Nanna was a woman of strong faith, it was said in the funeral service that she had commented that she knew where she was going.  Last night my mind was full of this song, in light of my Nanna’s faith, I’m sure the angels led her in.

And if you were with me tonight
I’d sing to you just one more time
A song for a heart so big
God wouldn’t let it live
May angels lead you in
Hear you me my friends
On sleepless roads
The sleepless go
May angels lead you in
May angels lead you in
(Hear You Me by Jimmy Eat World)

My Goodbyes

My Goodbyes

My goodbyes
Now they’re all said
As I stood there
In my silence
Tears leaving tracks
Gradually falling
Into space

I’ve said goodbye now
To both of you
My treasured Nans
I’ll hold my memories
Close to my heart
Forever carrying
The love you both gave

Goodbye to you both
My ladies of strength

Looking Ahead to Another Crazy Week!!!

It’s been an indifferent week this week, somewhere in the middle, but on the whole mainly positive, although today brings about some deep inner thoughts, but despite those mixed feelings, I am staying positive and looking towards a real mixed bag of a week ahead.

We’ll begin with today, well 10th May 1997 was the day that Victoria’s Mum engineered an evening for the two of us to get to know each other, I was invited to their house to baby sit with Victoria for her three younger brothers, we had met a few times, but not really spoken, we had actually dance together at me sister’s wedding a month before, but this was the night we started to get to know each other and the date we both used to class as our anniversary, so it brings mixed feelings to be completely honest.

Feelings initially that I messed up big time, it is a given that I messed up and I face the consequences of those mistakes every time I see Victoria and I want to reach out to her but can’t, it hurts, but I have faith, hope and belief, I am getting beyond the hurt and getting deeply entrenched in faith.  This week I have had more visions whilst praying for our situation and they show new life, so I am not as despondent today as maybe I should be, so onwards and upwards and keeping trusting in the Father.

Tomorrow will be a long day, here in Newark it is Newark Show weekend, the show ground here hosts an annual agricultural show which also involves a number of local clubs and attractions, for the forth year running my Karate club has a pitch for the two days, so we will be running demonstrations throughout both days.  I am only doing Saturday, but it will be a long enough day nonetheless.

Tuesday will see the funeral of my Nanna, it seems strange that three months ago I had never been to a funeral, now I’ve had two in that time, both my only remaining Grand Parents, but it will be a final chance to say goodbye and get beyond it all.  I know the last funeral was very emotional, but it put an end to my grieving and hopefully this Tuesday will be the same.

Other than that the usual work, plus extra Architectural work I have got to fit in, Karate classes and also extra responsibilities within my role in the A.V. team at Church, which is a very interesting project to be part of and one that I’m certainly looking forward to getting stuck into.

So for now I’ll keep my chin up and do everything I can to stay positive.

Where the spirit of the Lord is
There is freedom
Where the spirit of the Lord is
There is freedom
Lift your eyes to heaven
There is freedom
Lift your eyes to heaven
There is freedom
Freedom reigns in this place
Showers of mercy and grace
Falling on every face
There is freedom
(Freedom Reigns by Jesus Culture)

Dealing With Death Once Again

Just seconds after my last post, I answered the phone to my Dad, he called to tell me my other Nanna had died this afternoon, just 8 weeks after my other Nanna passed away.

Needless to say the same feelings of numbness have descended again, I felt so up for everything earlier, now I don’t know how to feel again, I’m not sure I can go through all these feelings a second time, so soon after struggling with them before.

In a strange way when I left for work today, I had a feeling that it wouldn’t be too long until I received this news, but so soon and when I am so tired, I just pray I can stay strong enough to deal with this again.

I’ve been in tears again for the last ten minutes or so, even as I type this, I can see this being the norm for a few days again.

I prepared this lyric video for the Flyleaf song Mama, when my other Nanna passed away, so I post this song once again.

There’s something
I’m trying to tell you and
I’ve tried to tell you before and
Each time that I profess it
It just leaves me wanting more and
I think you are beautiful
And I’m proud of you
What I’m trying to say is
I love you
I love you
(Mama by Flyleaf)

A New Month, A New Year & A New Horizon

It’s fair to say that once again my March started with challenge for the second year running, but in a strange way this March mirrored the previous twelve months, the rollercoaster ride that was March 2012 through to the end of February 2013 was condensed down and relived across the month of March 2013.

Its only now since April has risen that I can now look back on the last year and the last month in particular and say, I have OVERCOME!!!!

When I look at last month I see the same patterns of the previous twelve months, last year starting with death, not physical, but the death of a relationship, that part of me that died when reality of dying love hit hard, this was reflected last month in the physical death of a loved one.  In a way I had abandoned both to die, I had exiled myself from both, in my relationship with Victoria I hid away just letting it die without a fight, until it was too late, with Nanna I hid away also, in both situations I knew I had to face them both before it was too late, but both came to an end before I could bring myself to do anything, the remorse of both hit hard both times.

In the early months which followed March last year I suffered the physical pain of the withdrawals, they were at times quite brutal, they didn’t leave me for weeks, for around six weeks I suffered some sort of constant pain, from an ever present headache to full on body pain, all as a consequence of my actions, all directly as a result of my drinking.  Last month after the early blow of grief, I dealt with the pain of my drinking all over again, this time emotional pain, as I faced the remorse of the delayed actions of my previous drinking, I lived for a time in the pain of my own mind, not a headache as such, but my own head, my own mind, it drove me back to edge for a while, it was hard to deal with it all again as I was blinded by dark thoughts again, the clouds fogged my thinking, the light faded and I sank back.  On both occasions I was lead to Church, to find friends and support, last year for the first time to find a way forward, this time on the day I got the news of my Nanna, I walked straight into Church, to find the same arms that had supported me over the previous twelve months.

In April last year I almost reached the end during the withdrawals, I wanted to give in one Monday night, I couldn’t take the pain and isolation of them anymore, I wanted to drink but knew I couldn’t, I got to the point I couldn’t face it alone anymore, what did I do that night, I reached out to a friend from Church, to James and told him I couldn’t do this anymore, the moment I reached out I was released from the torment of pain, the pain was there, but I could see through it, I could see it as something I had to go through, but would soon subside.  Then that Sunday morning three weeks ago when I felt couldn’t go on anymore, when I wanted to walk into that lake, when I wanted to run and hide, when I couldn’t let my friends see me fall, when I wanted to simply give in, I reached out again, I got to Church against my own will and let them know I couldn’t do it alone anymore, again I was released from that pain, it was almost removed straight away, within hours I was back in reality.

The rest of the previous twelve months were mainly positive, rebuilding with the help of friends and most importantly with my Faith in God and belief in Christ Jesus as my saviour, I had held onto that since that dark night in April last year, I had held to the belief I couldn’t do this alone, through prayer and help of friends I glided through those months with little to hold me back, the odd moment, the odd low point, but mainly growth, in faith and as a person.

That then was mirrored in the remainder of the last month, regrowth, remembering how I got as far as I had, through faith and knowing I was never alone, that I didn’t have to face any of this alone, at any point I could reach out to friends or more importantly to God.

The lessons of last year were evident, whatever I go through, whatever pain, whatever remorse, the point when I had to do that alone came to an end the day I prayed for that first time, since that night I knew I had support for all I was to face, he gave me peace that night and every night since, I guess I forgot that.

That support was increased further when that Easter Sunday in April 2012 I raised my hand from that seat, right at the back of our Church, to accept Jesus in my life, from there, from that point I had everything I needed to get through, GOD, JESUS, FRIENDS!

The pain of our situations can blind our vision, it can cloud our judgement, leaving us lost for direction, we often don’t see beyond that pain, leaving us feeling alone.  It’s hard sometimes to lift our heads, to see with clear eyes beyond the tears that we are not alone, even though we don’t see, we are not alone in this, we have someone that loves us beyond anything else waiting there to help us, we just have to call out in the darkness, to ask for help from the Lord.

On Good Friday I managed to get the day off work to attend Church, it was my first Good Friday service, by the time this day rolled around I was in a wonderful mood, it was the anniversary of my Sobriety and I was ready to celebrate the sacrifice that made it all possible, to celebrate Jesus laying down his life for my sins, for the first time I really understood the importance of the Cross.

In the service Justin talked about pain with purpose, that sometimes the pain we go through is there for a reason.  He also talked about how he had disliked it in the past when people said to him that “Christians use faith as a crutch!”, he said he always though he had faith because he wanted to Believe rather needed something to hold on to, but over time he had began to see it the other way, his faith had become his crutch, he couldn’t move forward alone, not without the help of God as his crutch.  The interesting thing here was the during my walk prior to the service I had had the same thoughts, but I saw my faith over the last month not so much as a crutch, but as a walking frame, I had to grasp that frame with two hands and place firmly place it down before me, then take small steps behind it, before repeating the motion and moving forward.

I don’t mind walking behind that frame, I’ll take those small steps behind a framework that guides my way and I will keep holding on as I walk.

If this last month has taught me anything, it has taught me to rely on God for everything, that with faith in God and belief in Jesus as my Saviour, I can overcome and continue to overcome, I’m not enough alone, but with that faith and belief anything is possible.

Today I’ve chosen Our God by Chris Tomlin to accompany my post, for a couple of reasons really, the lyrics themselves say it all, but this song we sang on my first visit to Church one year ago (well they sang it I stood on looking around in awe), then the next day as I walked to work this song played on my iPod, I had forgotten I had added it a year or so earlier right in the middle of my dark days, when despite my complete aversion to God and faith, I sought to listen to Christian music as much or mare than I sought to listen to any other music, as I walked that morning I found myself singing it quietly under my breath, it played again as I walked this Saturday morning, I didn’t sing it quietly this time, I sang it out loud and proud.

Into the darkness You shine
Out of the ashes we rise
There’s no one like You
None like You
Our God is greater
Our God is stronger
God, You are higher than any other
Our God is healer
Awesome in power
Our God, our God
(Our God by Chris Tomlin)

A Hundred Thank Yous

I fully intended to post last night, but instead decided it was time I responded to all the comments you wonderful readers have left over the past couple of weeks.  I haven’t responded to any comments since I posted NUMB! when I got the news my Nanna had died.

I have left my comments for a number of day in the past, but catching up took an hour or so at the most, last night after 3½ hours I managed to respond to half of your great comments, I managed a few more this morning, but I still have so many to respond to and I will get caught up completely over the next few days, I will respond to every comment, when I started this Blog that was what I intended to do and I will do it, I promise.

In the meantime, I know I’ve posted this before here, but it means more now than ever, so I post it again for my newer followers:

If We Meet Face To Face

The words I scribble
You kindly read
Once committed to type
On my thoughts you feed

No judgement is passed
Just support you give
Encouraging my heart
Making it easier to live

Humbled by your likes
At your comments I cry
You touch my heart
Lifting my spirits high

If I could meet you all
I’d give a loving embrace
With a hug so tender
When we meet face to face

It’s been another long day and I am now both tired and in slight pain!  This time the pain is physical, which is good, well good in a sense that it’s not the emotional pain that has blighted my last few weeks, I’ve had a enough of that for a lifetime thanks, but pain of my own making to be honest.

It was grading day again today for some of my students, our regular club gradings which happen three times a year took place at Long Sutton, Lincolnshire, not at my own club here in Newark.  It’s a long day which includes three hours of training, before sitting through hours of students grading.

It’s been a while since I completed three hours of training and I knew I may struggle, my knees mainly, but they weren’t too bad, it was my right shoulder that caused the problems.  Fifteen minutes into the three hours, I felt the first twinge, I knew what had happened straight away, I have had this problem before, the pain in the shoulder and arm stem from torn muscles in the back and I knew my back was out, I’ve been feeling it for a few weeks, ever since the weekend when I was helping prepare for the Raise 2013 conference at Church a few weeks back, I knew holding the camera on my shoulder for so long had not helped.

Luckily my friend who runs the Long Sutton club is a registered Shiatsu practitioner, after training he cracked my back into place, he’s done it many times before, but never has it cracked as many times as it did today.  But the pain in the shoulder will linger for a while, in the past it comes from torn muscles, the tear then scabs over and the scab presses on the nerves that run from the spinal column to the arm, which indicates a pain in the arm which isn’t actually there.  The first time this happened my left arm went numb, when I went for treatment and the Physio started poking around my spine, I thought he was mad, the pain was in my arm and shoulder, why is he treating my back, then he found the location of the tear in my back, treated it and sent me home, within a day the pain and numbness was gone!

So hopefully that’s all it is, maybe I shouldn’t have done the rest of the training, but I’m not one to sit out on grading days, I don’t get that many chances to train at the level due to teaching, so I try not to pass them up.

It’s funny but 52 weeks ago I brought the last bottle of wine into the house, although I didn’t actually quit drinking for another week and half, that Sunday night was the last time I purchase alcohol from a shop and brought it into the house, which was also the day I held that knife at my wrist.  There is still a third of that last bottle left, it remains untouched from that night, carefully place in a box with all the other trash of a former life, that box gather dust in the cellar.

That means that tomorrow it will be 52 weeks since I met with Gareth, that night he opened my mind to a life with God, he started the snowball rolling, I just had to give it the shove, I’m glad to say that even through the darkness of the last few week, that snowball is still rolling and getting bigger everyday!

That also means that on Wednesday it will be 52 weeks since I first prayed to God, now that’s a big one, that moment where I chose in my own time and my own way, to make that connection with God and start that relationship in earnest, it had been one way traffic before that, the Lord pursuing a relationship with me whilst I turned away and ran, I simply couldn’t run no more, there was nothing left with which to run and nothing worth running from anymore, so I simply swallowed my pride and my beliefs and just prayed, the best choice I’ve ever made.  The good thing is that I get to spend Wednesday night with my Church small group, new friends who are so supportive, I can’t wait, it will be a great night I’m sure.

So an interesting week ahead, with some great memories to deal with this time, here’s to 52 weeks of Sobriety, one year, it’s gone so fast.

I’ll walk on water to you if that’s the only way to
Get to where you are and fall into your arms
I’ll go wherever you say, I’ll take a leap of faith
So tell me just how far until I’m in your arms
It’s hard for me to move, but you’re comin’ into view
I see your hands, they’re reachin’ out to me
Suddenly I see, this is where I’m meant to be
Even still I’ll lift my voice
(Walk On Water by Sixteen Cities)

Saying My Goodbyes

I’ve never been to a funeral before, the last close family member I remember dying was my Grandad, on my Dad’s dad, but I was only about 8 years old, so I never went to his funeral, but I was young and didn’t really understand, although I loved my Grandad, as he lived some distance away I wasn’t as close to him as I was my Nanna, during my childhood, I spent so much time with her, after school, school holidays, weekends, she looked after us whilst my parents worked hard to give us everything they could, but my Nanna wouldn’t have it any other way, she spoilt my more than any other of her six Grandchildren, I think secretly I was her favourite and probably the most like her.

My Nanna was very independent, she did things her own way, I’m a bit like that too, I don’t really conform to what the family does as a collective, I had to deal with this my way, it was my pain that I needed to handle and the others would handle their own in their way.

I walked to the Church, which is about half an hour’s walk from my house.  I met my cousin as I walked, they live on the same street, they offer me a lift, but I needed my space, my sister stopped on the way to offer a lift, again I refused, as soon as I could get of the main road, I did, that way I wouldn’t have to refuse anymore!

The Church was very typical of the small Parish Church you find in the UK, made of stone, stained glass windows and very cold, not mod cons, not the like the Church I find myself in every Sunday.

The Vicar was good, once again not really what I’ve been used to, but he did his home work very well, I learnt everything he could about my Nanna and he covered everything, he didn’t leave anything out, he summed her up in her entirety.

What I didn’t know was that she was born and Christened on the same day, she wasn’t expected to live beyond the day of her birth, but despite being the youngest of ten, she outlived them all and by a number of years at that!

I dealt with service in the cemetery alone, I didn’t join in with the families grief, I stood and cried alone, that was my way, that was the way I wanted to deal with it, to say goodbye, the way I wanted to.  When all the family and friends had moved away from the grave, I stood at the grave alone, saying goodbye in my own way, alone.

The time to spend with my family came at the wake afterwards, there I shared my tears with them and stories of our past, notably with my cousin Darren, together we drove my Nanna mad, we would take everything apart and never get it back together, including her Radio.

It was a great way to say goodbye and just like my Nanna, I did it my way, I found the peace I needed in saying goodbye the way I wanted too and not the way others may have expected.

The good thing is each morning when I walk to work, I actually walk through the cemetery, her grave is not far off the pathway I take, so this morning I stopped by just for a moment, I hope to visit almost everyday, no excuses anymore, she’ll only be minutes away from where my footsteps tread.

Incidentally, my Mum’s cousin nicknamed my Nanna, “Hot Rod”, because she walked so fast, even for a woman in her seventies/eighties she would outpace most people, it’s easy to see where I get it from!

I have closure now, I feel I am peace and have been forgiven by all for my failures of the last few years, life moves on, I move on, I am this new creation, rebuilt from the brokenness of my former self.

I forgot who I was on Sunday, I lost myself within my own head and the insecurities of my former self came to the fore, after realising this I wrote the following statement on Twitter Sunday night.

“Your insecurities will remain just that if you keep them IN & SECURE, have the faith in God to let them out, deal with them & say #iThankyou

I not a big fan of hymns, they’re a bit old hat for me, at ECC we sing more modern upbeat worship music, so I struggled with singing along to them during the service, but one of the hymns sung was Morning Has Broken, so in tribute I share the Third Day version.

Morning has broken
Like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken
Like the first bird
Praise for the singing
Praise for the morning
Praise for them springing
Fresh from the World
(Morning Has Broken by Third Day)



When will this all end
The pain of these words
That I have never said
There’s so much I wanted to say
Now this way is all I know

Who’s gonna tidy my room
Who’s gonna cook me my dinner
Who’s gonna bring me small gifts
And all those little things you did
There every week without fail

A Grandchild so spoilt
Treated beyond compare
The youngest of your six
The baby of the clan
You watched me as I grew

I’ll remember every Christmas
All packed at your house
You would fart in the kitchen
We’d laugh and then hear you say
“Ooh, hark at me!”

I’ll remember each bonfire night
When the family would gather
Even the one we went too far
When I almost lost an eye
You gently calmed me through my tears

I’ll remember those school holidays
When the six would all convene
Together we drove you mad
We were such a rowdy bunch
But you still cared for us all

I’m sorry I fell so far
That I never came to say hello
But I didn’t want you to see
The mess that I had become
The wreck that replaced your treasured Grandson

Yet through all my faults
You loved me to the end
Your heart was kind and true
You put all others before yourself
I only wish that I was just like you

I hope you hear me now
I know your pain has gone
I just wanted to say it those words
And I hope is isn’t too late
But Nanna, I Love You