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Dear Nana

Dear Nana,

I’m sorry I wasn’t there with you to hold your hand, to whisper in your ear, tell you how much I loved you or to stroke your cheek and tell you it’s OK or to tell you how proud you would be of the kids.

Hope you are happy with granddad. You would be so proud of how creative and beautiful Eliza is. Your spirit is alive within her. All your wonderful traits you passed on to us are alive and well in my family. You were a wonderful example of how to live a life – kind, with great empathy for others and how to have fun and live a wholesome life.

Are you having lots of chats over the celestial wall with all your old neighbours? I don’t know if you know but I finally passed my driving test. All granddad’s lessons paid off! Love permeated every part of your life, so tangible you could almost reach out and touch it. My heart aches for your loss but I know you are at peace now. Love is so strong. You’ve created a new generation of good people. Your devotions of love told that there was only one time of love and that was just love. You showed me that beauty comes with old age. Light flowed through your bones even if it dims towards the end. Newborns are visions of beauty, even the plainest ones never fail to please. As you would say, ‘even the plainest of aces are alive with beauty’. I felt as though everything was in alignment the day you passed away in 2003. Eliza was born. One goes out another takes their place, it was as if you made room for her.

I was always so comfortable with you, never at risk of breaking anything precious. Even when the focus of your mind seemed to wander. No more handicrafts or baking delightful apple tarts. There will be no more made-up stories. Things made no sense, frustration replaced lucidity. You used to know so much, then you did not even know yourself. Sometimes your mind was like fragments floating around in space. Your life was spilling out of the cup and there was nothing you could do. We tried to ease your distress but your fragility was so much you did not recognise us. Each last word you spoke was drawing another line under those feelings. Your last breath broke our hearts.

No more tears now, no more fears, no more unspoken words. You’re gone now and your spirit lives on. I want to say thank you for the lovely legacy you left behind.

Sweet dreams my near Nana, don’t let the bedbugs bite, as you would say to us.

All my love always,


Linda Powell, Togher, Tuam, Co Galway

This was my letter that was published in the irish Times , “Letters I wish I had sent ” section.

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