A Letter to Nana….

Dear Nana,

I can’t believe it’s been 2 years since I saw, touched and kissed your beautiful face. 2 years since you took your last breath on this earth and grew your angel wings. So much has happened in the past 2 years. Lots of ups and downs and there isn’t a day that goes by where we don’t wish you were here with us, enjoying in what life has to offer.

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I still find it extremely difficult to be in your home. Your presence is so raw and real and although it brings me comfort, it also breaks my heart and is a harsh reminder of what we are missing! I admire grandad for being so strong. It would have been so easy to walk away from all the memories, but instead he embraces it and has allowed it to help heal his heart, that will never fully recovery from losing you.

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Grandad is going well though. He misses you more and more everyday, but between us all, we make sure he is looked after. He travels with us to watch the kids play sport, relishes in his time at family dinners and enjoys his outings with Kane to Bunnings and the pub!

Mum has been, like always, the glue that holds us altogether. In her darkest days of grieving for you, she always makes sure that everyone else is ok. She is granddad’s sounding board and when he broke his hip, she took tremendous care of him just like she use to take care of you! You’ve raised an amazing women in my mummy nana so thank you!

You should see all the great-grandchildren now:)! Sadly you never got to meet baby Ada who is our newest member to the family! Megan and Shannon’s wishes came true and what a gorgeous wish she is! All the kids have grown so much and are striving to their best potential, especially in their sport! They all talk about you all the time and Mia asks me everyday why did nana have to die?!? Knowing you’re not suffering or in pain anymore is the only thing that puts my mind at ease just a little with losing you!

I miss you so much nana. I miss our chats about TV shows and celebrity goss, swearing together during these chats ended up in many laughing moments and I’d do anything to have that again. I miss the sound of your sweet voice, the touch of your soft hands and your cuddles – they will always be my favourite! I miss that you’re not hear watching our lives evolve and cheering us on with whatever we are doing in life…I just miss you!

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You may not be here in person anymore, but you are never excluded from our thoughts, conversations and special occasions. I hope this letter finds you, wherever you are. I hope that you are happy, content and enjoying the freedom you deserve!

I love you nana – until we meet again….

Nat….xoxoxox!

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Until we meet again….

Tears are rolling…
Our hearts our broken…
Yesterday we lost a great lady…Gloria Holpen – my darling nana!

She was a loving wife to my grandad, mother to my mother and uncles and was ‘nana’ to 10 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. She was a mother in law, a sister, an aunty and a true friend to anyone she met. She was loving, she was loyal…one of the greatest women I’ve been privileged to have in my life!

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5 weeks ago nana was rushed to hospital when she fell ill with a stomach obstruction. We were told to prepare for the worst then, but through her pure strength and determination, nana recovered and was ready to be discharged when a spot became available in a nursing home. Then last thursday unexpectedly, nana took a turn for the worst and started vomitting…another stomach obstruction, this time worse, this time there was nothing the medical professionals could do. Sadly nana was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease 5 years ago and now that she was in the late stages of this horrible debilitating disease, her bowel and gut system was paralysing and she was unable to eat or drink. We were told last weekend that nana only had a couple of days to live. She lasted 8 days.

We were shocked to say the least. We knew that she may be at risk of another obstruction, but months or years down the track…not weeks;( When the realisation came to knowledge that nana would need to be cared for in a nursing home, that was hard enough to stomach at first, but we accepted that and my mother worked so hard doing everything she had to do to find nana a nursing home placement and now instead of getting nana ready to move, we are busy planning her funeral. It just seems so wrong;(

In her final days, most of the family were able to spend time with nana, comforting her when she was in pain, holding her hand when she seemed scared and whispering in her ear how much we loved her and that she needed to be brave. This past week has been gut wrenching. Watching my grandad in his final days with his wife of over 60 years was nothing short of torture! Seeing how distraught my mum was at the thought of never seeing her mother again. We’ve cried an ocean of tears, but the most uplifting part of this week has been the realisation of how powerful family love can be.

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The hospital staff were amazed at how long nana held on for. For an 80-year-old women to last 8 days without food or water showed how strong and courageous nana really was. And although nana had many loved ones waiting for her on the other side, she knew she was leaving so much behind! The closeness and love our family shares started way back when nana and grandad started their own family…nana has left this legacy behind and as a family we will keep this going.

How do you say goodbye to someone who has been there for every stage of your life?

As I close my eyes I remember so many precious moments with nana. Her gorgeous smile, her laugh, her beautiful blue eyes and how she always had the ability to put a smile on my face. I’ll treasure the safe and secure feeling I always had when in my nana’s presence and to say I won’t have that again is something I’m trying to come to terms with.

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This week will be tough for everyone. Even though many tears are still to be shed, we are determined to make sure nana’s funeral is a celebration of her life and the amazing lady she was. When nana’s time on earth came to end on June 1st at 11.15am, heaven gained a special angel who will be there to watch over us every step of our ways. So for now nana it isn’t goodbye, rather until we meet again…..

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I’ve Watched…..

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Throughout my life I’ve been blessed with being able to watch and learn from a wonderful women who I will always call my nana!

Over the years…
I’ve watched my nana love and care for her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren as her natural instinct of mothering has always been impeccable.
I’ve watched her love and nurture grandad like the fantastic loyal wife she’s always been.
I’ve watched her give her opinion with a strong view as nana always liked a good debat.
I’ve watched her laugh so hard till she almost wet herself as nana always had a great sense of humour.
I’ve watched her cry at many different situations as she always held her emotions on her sleeve.
I’ve watched her grieve as we’ve lost love ones along the way.
I’ve watched her support us with everything we’ve ever been involved in from our sporting events to our academic achievements.
I’ve watched her play many games of bingo…some she won and some she walked away with the poops!
I’ve watched her make gollywogs, croquet blankets and baskets as nana loved her sewing creations.
I’ve watched her sing and dance at concerts as nana was a groover!
I’ve watched her work her magic in the kitchen whether it be on a roast or bangers and mash as nana was a great cook!
I’ve watched my nana embrace her natural beauty as she never pieced her ears, never coloured her hair and would only ever wear her signature pink lipstick…we tried so hard over the years to get her to shave her legs, so a tattoo was definitely out of the question lol!
I’ve watched her enjoy many cups of tea, coffee and slices of cake as that’s what nana loved to do.
I’ve watched her relish in the company of all of her family as family was her life!
I’ve watched her say goodbye to her family home of 50 years and move two doors up from me – this I will always cherish!
I’ve watched the thrill all her grand babies have brought to her over the years of their developments.
I’ve watched her at her absolute best and her absolute worst.

For a long time now, I’ve watched my dear nana struggle like none of us would know how to. I’ve watched her cry in pain and I’ve watched how determined she was not to let the pain defeat her as she never winged and always had room for her beautiful smile. I’ve watched my devoted grandfather care for her and keep her comfortable at home for as long as he possibly could and this was accompanied by the dedication of my wonderful mother.

In her final days I watched my nana fight with the strength I’ve never seen from a single soul. I watched my family shed tears for the lady who has always been the glue that holds our family together. I watched my grandad’s heart break as he told her he loved her and we would be ok. I watched my nana hold onto dear life until she felt we were going to be ok because nana always put everyone else before herself.

Now that my dear nana is dancing in the meadows of heaven with other loved ones, I will forever live in peace knowing that she will be watching over us all. Our family has another angel now who has left behind a legacy that we will continue to uphold during our days.

I love you forever nana…you will always be my inspiration – today is not goodbye, rather until we meet again xoxoxoxo!

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Why I am so blessed….

33 years ago, when I was placed in my mother’s arms, my life was blessed….

I’ve been so lucky to have been born to the most beautiful, caring, selfless and patient mother that I know, love and admire. I’m so blessed to not only have a great mother but someone I can truly call my best friend. From a little girl, teenager, young women to a mother, my mum has always nurtured, supported and helped me wherever possible and I’m in ore of what she does for our family! Mum isn’t the only women who I’ve been blessed with, my nana is like a second mum to me and to have two great women to lead the way in life, I am forever grateful!

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Mum and nana have taught me to be the mum I am today….
They’ve taught me to sacrifice, nurture, love and the like. They’ve taught me the true meaning of being a mother and have always been there for advice and encouragement. My children adore their great-grandmother, and ‘nanny’ – well let’s just say when the going gets tough, they cry out “I want my nanny!!!”

I’ve also been blessed with two wonderful sisters who as a little one they helped care and nurture me, but as adults we are now best friends and have been there every step of the way for each other in times of happiness and in sorrow. We love each other’s children like our own and long for our ladies nights together.

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And my most recent blessing in life is meeting my wonderful husband who helped me create the biggest blessing in my life…my 3 angels! Becoming a mum to Bailey, Sienna and Mia has changed the way I think, they way I feel, the way I love. I didn’t think I could possibly love anyone as much as I love my three children and just thinking about that brings a tear to my eye and fills my heart with joy!

So on this Mother’s Day, I want to thank all the beautiful ladies in my life…my mum, my nanas, my sisters, aunties, cousins and friends! I hope you’ve been showered with the love we all deserve as there is no love quite like a Mother’s love:)!

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So how did you spend the day? This was my day in highlight….

Mother’s Day for me started on Friday when Sienna’s prep class put on an afternoon tea music concert. It was just as beautiful as Bailey’s two years ago. Sienna was so adorable as she sang songs to me and served me afternoon tea:)

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Then yesterday I was treated like a queen – breakfast in bed, I stayed in bed until 9am reading books with the kids and playing games on the iPad. We had a beautiful visit to our local playground and we’re caught in pouring rain on the way home…2 adults running with three kids on bikes must have looked pretty funny lol! The day was topped off by a beautiful dinner cooked by Kane…and he even did the dishes:)

Today has been spent doing the things I love the most…10km run, kisses and cuddles while opening my presents, watching Bailey and Kaleb play footy. We had a great visit with nana who looked a million dollars today and had such a sparkle in her eye as the flowers kept rolling in. As I type, my wonderful husband is preparing roast meat for dinner with my family and I’m cuddling a scared Mia (from the electric knife lol) and keeping an eye on a very sick
Sienna:(…but hey that’s what Mother’s do!

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Another great Mother’s Day…one of my favourite days of the year:)

80 Blessed Years!

80 years ago today a beautiful lady was born into this world, and blessed this world is to have her! This lady is my dear nana Gloria! In her 80 years of life so far, she has experienced many great loves which have formed her family, but has also faced tragedies with the loss of a child, grandchild and parent. She has always been a devoted wife, mother and grandmother who would give you the jumper off her back or her last dollar if she had too!

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Yesterday we celebrated nana’s 80th birthday just how she likes…being surrounded by family! My wonderful mother did a fabulous job organising such a fantastic day for everyone to enjoy! It was so lovely having most of nana’s grandchildren and great grandchildren present for such a huge milestone. And of course in true style we were able to capture many cherished moments…..

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Nana and grandad with their children!

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Nana and grandad with their grandchildren!

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Nana and grandad with their great grandchildren!

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My party of 5 with our dear Nana!

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Nana’s cake I made for her:)

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Aerial shot of the cake!

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Mum put together a collection of things that my very talented nana made over the years…some of it is almost 40 years old!!!!

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Nana and I….my fondest childhood memories included nana a lot!

As I was having a lovely chit chat with nan this arvo, it reminded me of all the wonderful girly chit chats we’ve had over the years! It makes me so upset at the thought of how Parkinson’s Disease has taken over my precious nana’s body and once where she was an active vibrant women who was very intelligent, now struggles with the day to day normal living of life. But in true Gloria form she never complains and always has time to give you a smile. As I kissed her soft forehead this arvo, I told her that she was the best and that she wasn’t going anywhere that we couldn’t survive without her….she replied with a beautiful smile and said “someone would replace me”, I replied with “never!” Because Gloria Holpen, the lady known to many of us as Nana Holpen, is simply irreplaceable!!!!

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Happy 80th birthday Nana….I’m so glad you’ve had a wonderful weekend of celebrations!!!!!