It has been a very busy start to the year at Savvy Towers, and for us personally a very sad start, as we have said goodbye to Alan, my fabulous Father-In-Law. As Savvy Cinderella is a family run business, we have all been hit hard by the loss of a much loved man, but we all have great memories, and can remember him with love and happiness.
When I first met up with Nick again, my husband, I already knew his family. Nick and I had been at the same school together since we were 6 years old, and our families lived across the road from each other, so when we started seeing each other, we weren’t complete strangers. Nicks parents welcomed me into their lives with open arms, and became a proper second family to me. They were brilliantly loving grandparents to our children, and to me they were always a daily phone call or a visit away, always part of our lives.
My Mother-In-Law died four years ago, yet somehow I am feeling the loss of her more so now, than I have in the past four years. I suppose it is because whilst Alan was alive, he kept the memory of her alive, and I always felt that she was with us, just in another room; out of sight, but not out of earshot or mind. Now the reality has hit home, that we have lost them both, and our lives are going to be the poorer for it. But, we hold on to the knowledge that our lives were so much the richer for having them in it, and I am very grateful that my children were able to call these two wonderful people Nana and Grandad, and I could not only call them family, but also my friends.
I have been very blessed in my life to have known and loved some amazing people, and the memories I have are treasured. With Jo and Alan, my memories are of laughter and love. I would sit with Jo in the kitchen, talking about anything and everything, and her wicked sense of humour and outrageousness would have me laughing out loud. Not a women to mince her words, and never one to sugar coat anything, Jo would make me laugh so much, I would still be laughing later, when I would relay our conversations to Nick. She always looked so amazing. I used to call her Teflon Jo, and it didn’t matter what went on around her, she would remain immaculate. When looking after our two younger children, I always looked bedraggled and would be covered in Blackcurrent Juice and muck or some description, but she could look after them in the middle of a vomitting fest, and still remain elegant and untouched. In all the years I knew her, she remained calm, unflustered and perfectly presentable. A glamorous woman, who took pride in her appearance, and always looked stunning. No matter how I try, that skill has always evaded me. No matter what event was taking place, good or bad, a lipstick was always perfectly applied, and hair always immaculately styled, and yet the love was all consuming and all encompassing. When in her company you knew you were loved. And thats how I will always remember her, with love and with lipstick, and lots of laughter.
When Jo died, life in the house went on as usual, everything remained the same, but she wasn’t there. Alan wasn’t a man who wore his heart on his sleeve, but we all knew his loss was heartbreaking, and the void could never be filled. On the windowsill of the bathroom, near the mirror, was her brush and lipstick, and they remained there always, just as if they were waiting for her to use them. Such a simple thing, but whilst they were there, everything was all right with the world, and the love was still there. Alan could have easily have moved them, but he didn’t. Keeping them there was such an act of love, and symbolised to me how strong their bond was, that I would feel her presence every time I saw them. Now Alan has gone, I have got the Lipstick as a reminder, and it is now with me always, a constant reminder to me, that love never dies, even when the people have moved on, the love always stays with you. Others may think it strange how a lipstick can hold so much importance, but to me, it is invaluable, I will never part with it, and I take huge comfort from having it with me.
With Alan, my memories are of a funny, intelligent and quick witted man, who would turn from a typical Officer and a Gentleman into a crazed lunatic when behind the wheel of a car. A man who flew fighter jets in his day, who would drive a Ford Escort as if it was a Nimrod or a Comet, and who hated sharing the road with any other living thing. This was a man who was born for the skies, and the restrictions of having to share the roads was just too much for him. In recent years, I have taken him to hospital many times, and I would never cease to be amazed as this lovely, considerate and mild mannered gentleman would get into my car, and turn into a man possessed! He would argue with the SatNav, shake his fist at innocent road users, and have me shaking in my shoes by the time we got to the hospital. As soon as he left the car, my mild mannered man would return. No-one in the family relished the thought of being in a vehicle with him. But all of us would have loved to have flown with him. He was born to fly, and loved every minute of it.
The loss of people you love makes you realise how lucky we are to have them in our lives. It also makes you realise, that not matter how long we are on this earth, it really isn’t long enough. The possessions and wealth we acquire along the way hold no real value, no matter their worth. An undertaker friend once said, a Hurst needs no roof-rack. and how true that is. All we can hope is that when we die, we leave something of true and lasting value behind us.
My beloved Nan died many years ago, and I have her wedding ring, a pot of her Ponds Face Cream, and a purse. Even now after 35 years, I will still hold the purse, and open the pot of very dried up cream, just to feel close to her. Those simple items fill me with warmth and love, and bring me so much joy. My wonderful Grandad wrote me postcards and letters every week of my life, these too are priceless and treasured.
My dear friends, Doris and Sprigg who died a few years ago, left me and my children memories of days by the fire, with china tea cups and stories from the Fens, but one thing that all my loved ones have left me is a gratitude for the love, and a feeling of being blessed to have known them. My life has been made richer and extra special by having these wonderful people involved in it. And of course the thing that I have in my life the most, that will remind me of my in-laws everyday is my amazingly talented, and much loved husband. If their legacy could be reduced to just one thing, it would be that they gave me him, a man that has made my life complete, and helped me make and shape 4 amazing children, and who has ensured that every day, even those ones filled with sadness, are also filled with love. They have left this world with more love than they found it, and that is a true measure of a life.
So, lipstick on, I move on with love and gratitude, and I hope that someday, someone will remember me with the same love that I remember those in my life.
Make the most of everyday, and make love and laughter at every opportunity.