Today is May 29th. It is a sad day. But a day also to celebrate. Today is about tears and happiness.
I'd like to introduce you to someone very special and very important to me. An amazing and inspiring woman. Her name is Jan.
Jan is my mother in law. In fact the best mother in law a girl could ask for. Caring, kind, loving, and giving are all words that come immediately to mind when I think of Jan. Mostly, unselfish. I think daily and often of Jan. She offered me and my son a home when I needed one, no questions asked. She quickly became a Grandma to Riley. She would drop anything to come and help care for him whilst I and my now husband had to work. Not having a drivers license, Jan used public transport to get to our house to do this (about a 3 hour trip with train / bus changes along the way) and then she would stay with us until we had a day off, and then she would head home. Sometimes she would even just do a 6 hour round trip to meet me at the bus stop with Riley and take him home with her.
So why is today sad? Well two years ago today I sat at Jan's beside and held her hand whilst she slept peacefully and didn't wake again. Jan was battling her third round of cancer. She was brave and fought hard, but did not win this time.
As I sat at her beside, it was the first time I'd seen her in weeks. I'd found out we were expecting with Piper and had been really unwell with all day sickness and a cold. Jan with her fragile immune system was at home but not not in a position to have me as a visitor for risk of her becoming more ill. So for weeks there had been several visitors all getting to sit down with her and talk about old times and things for the future. I missed out or so I thought.
In a really sad week, we'd just attended the funeral for one of my Grandmothers when Erik's dad called to say that Jan was struggling and now was the time to come and see her at the hospice. So we travelled the 90 minutes from the wake to visit Jan. This was the last time Riley would see her. We stayed as long as we could and arranged to visit the next night.
So back to sitting by her beside, Jan hadn't been awake since we'd last seen her the night before. I was desperate to talk to her but wanted to do so on my own. Erik left the room for literally two minutes and I grabbed the opportunity whilst I had it. What did I say? Well those few moments I spent telling her how grateful I was for having her in our lives, I thanked her for all that she'd done for me and Riley, I told her that I would make her proud, that I promised to look after Erik and his Dad and that her grandchild would grow up knowing and loving her. But mostly I told her I loved her and wished I'd had more than my six years with her. I asked her to stay. But that was my slightly selfish side coming out.
Erik re-entered the room and sat down. He asked if I was "ok" and did I talk to Jan. I was just telling him yes I had when Jan's grip on my hand loosened and I looked over to her to see her face so peaceful and that she'd stopped breathing. It was sad. Terribly sad. Erik was pleased however that I had had the chance to talk with her and that I was the one holding her hand.
So on to celebrating. Celebrating the life of a wonderfully unselfish lady. Celebrating that she lives on in our gorgeous daughter Piper. There are photos all around the house. We talk of Nanny Jan all the time. There are special gifts that we've given to Piper from Jan.
So like my Mum, Jan too is a part of Perfectly Piper. She would have loved to have been involved too. So here's to making Jan proud through Perfectly Piper, to loving her, to thanking her.
Jan you are loved and missed every day, but I am so glad to have a part of you in my loving husband and an even bigger part of you in your gorgeous grand daughter Piper.