Dear Nan, This is one of the most heart breaking letters I've ever had to write. The news hasn't quite hit properly, but something is different, something has changed, the world isn't quite the same without you.
I'm sorry I wasn't there to hold your hand as you slipped away in the early hours of this morning. I'm sorry I wasn't there sat by your side reassuring you that everything was going to be okay. Letting you know that we were all aware that it was your time to go, we knew you couldn't hold on any longer.
You fought, my goodness did you fight. The doctors said they hadn't quite seen anything like it. The nurse said "Your Nan has one of the highest pain thresholds I've ever come across" to me upon one of my visits. I guess that's where I get it from Nan.
There is so much of you in me, your eyes, your non stop energy, your loud voice and dramatic arm and hand gestures. The over exaggeration when telling a story and the expressive wide eyed glances. If you wanted something to happen, you'd make it happen. There were no two ways about it.
I must say that there were times when I'd cringe Nan, you were such a strong, bold, unapologetic presence. You told people exactly what you thought whether it was your business to or not.
I hope I live my life to the full like you, I hope I go on the adventures you went on with Granddad. You were always exploring, be it on holiday, a break away or just a day trip. Any excuse for a day trip.
You smoked far too much, and you drank far too much, and you said far far too much, but you never cared about what others thought of you. You just lived as you wanted to. You died at 85 on the 27th of August 2016 in the very early hours of the morning. We only just found out you were actually 85 as you'd fibbed not once, but twice about your age.
When we moved to Spain you never once missed an opportunity to send some kind of present, even when Jess and I had grown up. You'd send presents for Easter, decorations for my flat at Christmas, all of the essentials for a British Christmas Dinner including stuffing and a Christmas pud. You sent us the most beautiful dresses to wear on Christmas day and thoughtful gifts on our Birthdays.
Even though I have spent much of today in tears, there have been moments of laughter as we've remembered the times we shared with you.
You were one of a kind Nan, only you would give the last three dogs you've had the same name, because who has time to learn a new name for a new dog?! I can see you now, nodding your head at me saying "well that's right Peta."
When we were little we'd arrive at your house, out little chubby legs running quickly in the direction of the dress up box. It's a huge wooden trunk which still sits in your bedroom, packed to the brim with dresses you wore when you were younger, pearl necklaces bruised and battered from our boisterous games and high heels that swamped our tiny feet. You'd put on Tina Turner's Greatest Hits and laugh a deep belly laugh as you watched us prance around the living room.
Granddad was forced to take picture after picture of us growing up. "Get the camera then! They can't wait all day you know" you'd say. You were so abrupt and bossy and no one every questioned you, they just followed your instructions. Those pictures cover your mantel piece and walls, proudly displaying your two, only granddaughters. There are photographs of me as a baby, when Jess came along, you have one picturing me holding my newborn sister. There's carnival smiles, awkward school photos, Christmas crackers and more recent ones showing how you're little girls grew into young ladies. You even turned up unannounced at my best friend's wedding to get Granddad to take a photo of your eldest Granddaughter as a bridesmaid, you can be seen inspecting the pose to the right of the photograph.
I'm sorry that I didn't visit more Nan, I'm sorry you never made it out here for a holiday. You'd have loved Spain. I'm sorry I told you off in hospital for not eating and I'm sorry I couldn't understand everything you tried to say to me. I'm sorry I didn't take more photos of us together over the years, I only have a handful.
I'm sat writing this with tears streaming down my cheeks and I know you'd say very bluntly "that's enough now Peta. Enough".
You had plenty to say on my relationships throughout the years, never failing to point out that time, is in fact ticking, and when was I going to settle down?! I remember after a particularly upsetting break up you sent me a card you'd made with a frog on the front and the words "You have to kiss many frogs before you find your prince". Inside all you had written was Love, Nan A.
Nan, I couldn't have asked for a stronger, more hard headed, stubborn, bolder, motivational life role model. You will forever live on in my many memories of you and in my heart. You will always be the Welsh blue eyed Nan I adore with the mischievous glint in her eye and rebellious laugh that intrigued anyone close by.
All my love,