Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Change Is Coming

This morning I hope you don't mind if I share with you some personal thoughts about this current time of change in my life. I am in the midst of the circle of life- with my impending first baby's birth and also the sad news that my Grandma may not have much time left. My head is spinning with all the emotions, it is such a happy and sad time and I really feel the need to write my feelings and memories here and share them with you. 

I am now close to 38 weeks pregnant, and I may be wrong, but I feel like Peanut is getting ready to meet us. The aches and pains are changing and the Braxton Hicks are coming on stronger and more frequently especially through the night. While uncommon its not unheard of for a first-time mother to go a little early. I am so excited, nervous, apprehensive and just cant wait until the first sign comes; I will be thinking "Is this it??"

Sadly, my dear Mum has had to fly over to New Zealand as my Grandma is fading and they don't think she has much time left. Mum left yesterday at very short notice, she was lucky to get a flight last minute because of all the drama with the volcanic ash cancelling flights. Mum felt terrible to be leaving me at this late stage in my pregnancy, and doesn't know when she will return, it will depend on Grandma's condition. I assured her that it would be alright and that I doubt the baby will arrive in the next few days.

My much beloved Grandma Joye is 92 years old, and has been unwell for the last couple of years. She has had various health problems and is also often confused and forgetful; but we have seen at times brief moments of recognition and we've been thankful to be able to have a little quality time with her. I just hope my Mum gets one of these precious moments, and is able to spend some quality time with her. I hope that Grandma is aware of how many people love and admire her. She has lived through two husbands, my Mum's dearly loved dad Bill who passed when Mum was a young adult, and my Grandad Arthur who was a prisoner of war. My most fondest memories of Grandma and Grandad are from their visits to us on our farm near Yeppoon, central Qld. They were such gentle and loving grandparents and always had a kind and encouraging word. They would sit in the sun on the verandah having cups of tea and toast- it surprised me as a child to watch Grandad wave his toast in the air until it was stone cold.

Grandad passed away years ago and Grandma continued to visit us every few years, right up until her last visit in 2005 for my sister Cinnamon's wedding. Shane and I made it over to NZ just before our wedding, 2 years ago. I am so thankful that we made this trip and that I got to have quality time with Grandma. She wasn't always sure who I was, but when I showed her a photo of our family and went through name by name, I saw that she knew each and every one of us and she called me Sarndy, her pet name for me. She just loved Shane- she told me peering at him over the top of her reading glasses, in her cute accent "Oooh He's just Lovely!" She was still living with my Aunty Julie then, soon afterwards she moved into a beautiful home for the elderly in Palmerston North. The Julia Wallace Retirement Home is a fairly new establishment, staffed by wonderful people who you can tell genuinely care for the residents. There is a big warm general area where the residents can sit and socialise in comfortable armchairs, and are often sharing a birthday cake or listening to piano music. It is surrounded by beautifully kept gardens and immaculate lawns; Grandma has enjoyed many hours out in these gardens with the help of someone to assist her in a wheelchair. It has been a relief to know she has been so well cared for in her last few years, and has had a beautiful corner room up a few stories with a lovely view overlooking the gardens. A few of her precious things are in  her bedroom- photos of her family, her jewellery hanging inside her cupboard door, a few ornaments and many letters and cards she has nearby in a basket. My Mum faithfully writes to Grandma nearly every week- and has done so for many years. The rest of us would send cards on birthdays and Christmas, just as Grandma did for all of her Grandchildren. It was a sad time when we stopped receiving her beautifully hand written cards when she became too elderly. She just loves to read and it has been such a blessing that she has kept enough of her eyesight to be able to continue reading.

My beautiful Grandma Joye at my sister's wedding in 2005

Even though I know and accept that we all pass away is it still hard to think of a time when she isn't around. I haven't had many experiences with death thankfully and I also haven't had many babies in my life until the last few years. I am still coming to terms with the realities of life; I know that it is my time to be taught these valuable lessons.


  1. Oh Sarndra :( My thoughts are with you at this sad time.

  2. Dear Sarndra,
    My heart goes out to you what a beautiful lady your grandmother is and what beautiful memories you have. I too had a extremely close connection with my beloved grandmother who passed away in Scotland when she was 98years old. I realise it is extremely difficult because you can't be with her.
    On the day my grandmother died I took flowers down the beach as living in Australia with a young baby I couldn't fly home at the time. I also created a little patch in my garden to remember her and my children and I go there to sit regularly and leave flowers on granny's buddha statue.
    Anyway I guess what I am trying to say is Love lives on forever and your grandmother will live on in your heart and mind and in your beautiful baby when they are older through stories and the honouring of her life.
    This is an extremely difficult time for you and emotionally will be draining so do rest and take it easy and I am sure your grandmother will be looking on and you will feel her strength and spirit when your baby is born.
    Best wishes

  3. Focus on those sweet memories and time will heal the rest.

  4. Oh Sarndra wheel of life can be difficult, take care.

  5. Sarndra, your grandmother has been blessed with 92 years of life which is more than most. It will be sad when she is with you no longer but you'll remember all the good times and the fact that you had all the years with her to have those good times. My grandmother died 36 years ago but there's still things we joke about in the family that were 'Nana's little ways' and it's a compliment when someone says 'your grandmother used to say/do that'. She'll still be with you when your children have grown up as she's in your heart.

  6. What a beautiful, heartfelt post. Life is often like that isn't it? It is possible to be happy and hopeful and sad at the same time...
    You obviously have a wonderful family, how lucky little peanut is.

  7. This wonderful post reminded me of how special my grandparents are to me, and that I owe my Nanna a letter - which I will write today.
    Thinking of you, your Grandma Joye, and little Peanut.

  8. Thank you so much everyone I really appreciate your kind words and wishes.

  9. I'm really sad to read this, Sarndra. Remember, all you need to do if you and Shane need anything, is to call us. We'll be there in a flash. I remember Shane telling me after meeting your grandma, how lovely she is. Is she the Joye that little Joye is named after?

    Kerry and Sunny have just left. They have a couple of things for you so they might call in. Take care, I'll call you on the weekend. xx

  10. Thank you Rhonda xx I really appreciate it.
    Yes my little neice Joye is named after Grandma. It's very cute because we can all see similarities in her. At nearly 3 she is VERY into her girly jewellery as Grandma is, and often says comments which remind us of Grandma. When I told little Joye on the phone recently how proud I am of her for her potty training, and how much Uncle Shane and I love her, she replied "Of Course!!" in exactly the same way Grandma would have :-) Grandma Joye will certainly live on in little Joye and in all of us.
    Lors i love what you wrote about the beach and the garden. Such lovely ideas and I know we will do that with our Peanut.

  11. {{{hugs}}} Sarndra.
    It is such a bitter sweet tie right now. I remember when Eli was amost here and Brians Granny had a stroke. it was so sad to think that she wasn't going to be around to be part of his life. Luckily she pulled through and two years later she's still here with us and in her own home too.
    Take care honey and be gentle to yourself

  12. Warm thoughts coming your way and thank you for sharing this personal information. Even though your mum has had to leave at this time you have the support of your MIL who will no doubt be there for you every step of the way if needed.

  13. I think your little peanut will inherit your Grandma's great spirit and love of life as he comes into this world and as she goes out. It is sad that she is so far away from you at this time.
    I loved your post, reminiscing about her and your Grandad - my dad used to wave his toast to go cold too!
    And how delicious is your sisters name, Cinnamon? I love it!

    Thinking of you as you await your baby's arrival - it's exciting waiting for blog babies!

    Cheers - Joolz

  14. Came to your blog from Down to earth!
    Your story reminds me of my grandma. She pass away when my niece was about to born! My father always tell us that she is reflection of my grandma!
    I can understand your mix feelings!
    Take care!

  15. Cycle of life indeed. I'm sad your mum isn't with you and you can't be with the family. Nest safely in your new family and put all your energies into peanut so he/she knows their safe and ready to come. And don't you love it when those old girls affirm your choice in life partner!

  16. I am so sorry to hear this. I know how difficult it can be as I lost my grandma over a year ago. My thoughts are with you.

  17. The circle of life - as one enters another leaves. Many hugs to you as you celebrate your grandmother, her life and achievements while nurturing the very new Peanut.

    Fairy xx

  18. Sarndra,
    I am so sorry to hear about your grandma. But so happy that you are holding on to the wonderful memories you have made with her. She sounds like an amazing woman! This time of loss will be felt more keenly with your pregnancy, but the arrival of your beautiful baby will also help ease your sadness.

    As you go through these weeks ahead, please know that you are in my thoughts.

    from Rhonda's blog

  19. Oh precious one! I'm so sorry to read this about your beautiful grandma.
    Am thinking of you.
    Much love,
    Lus x

  20. Sarndra, so sorry to hear you've had bad news. I do hope your grandma will be able to be there when your little peanut arrives. So your mom will be able to tell her. They might not always react, but on some level they certainly still hear and understand.
    We lost my husband's mother a few years ago because of Alzheimer's and we know she still reacted to some things, so I hope your grandmother will be able to hear the news.
    You and yours will be in my thoughts.

  21. Sorry to hear about your grandma's failing health - your mom should be with her :)

    Tell Peanut he'll have to stay put til your mom's back - no coming early like these South African twins you know ;)

  22. Dear Sarndra
    I stumbled upon your blog from Rhonda´s blog. A part of truly loving someone is letting them go when their time comes. Death and birth, different side of the same coin, the circle of life. I have worked in a nursing home. Seen how becoming old takes everything away from people. Seen how peaceful and merciful death can be. Even beautiful. Altough most people find that word inappropiate about the matter. I wish our culture would be more open about it. I´ts the one thing we can take for granted. And it´s of a spiritual nature as well as physical. And so is birth. Best of luck with everything dear.

  23. Hi sandy x sorry to hear about your grandma I like what you said about circle of life and I'm sure Peanut can sense that. I often think about my aging grandma who isn't the best of health in Singapore and remind myself to cherish the time I spend with her each year I go back. Isn't it the most endearing thing when grandmas talk about our partners ;) mine calls Steve by Stevie!! After 7 years of knowing steve she's the only one who calls him by that!
    Big hugs to u n Peanut xxx we will be at cooloongatta next fri n sat I'll give u a call then xxx