In September this year we lost an incredibly wise, warm hearted, caring person from our lives. My Grandmother was the heart chakra of our family and things just will never be the same again. As a 31 year old I have been extremely sheltered when it comes to death. This was my first experience of it as a adult and gosh has it thought me some valuable life lessons.
My Grandmother had been unwell for most of the year and spent many months in hospital. On many occasions I sat by her bedside wondering if now was the time that the angels were going to take her. To relieve her from her pain; and still when she finally was gone the pain was still harrowing and heartbreaking. It really is true what they say no matter how old someone is or how prepared you think you are for their departure nothing prepares you for that feeling that your heart is getting ripped from your chest. On the night before her death I sat with her; and my intuition was tellling me that her spirit was starting to leave her body. She was distressed like I have never seen her before, her hands went cold as she cried out. I held her hands and asked the angels to take her, for her to be at peace. However I went home that night thinking I'm sure ill see her again.
The next morning when we got the call from the hospital guilt struck me like a knife stabbing my core. I should have stayed with her. I shouldn't have asked the angels to take her. I should have got the rest of my family in to see her. Why did I live away for so long. Why did I get upset when she would smoke. Why didn't I ask her to tell me more stories about the old days. I should have spent more time with her. I should have told her I loved her more. This guilt ate me up for days until I finally shed the 'should haves' and the guilt and sat with the knowledge and wisdom that of course she knew we loved her dearly and were there for her when ever she needed us. Before experiencing this first hand I really could not have understood the strange things grief can make us do or feel or how absolutely precious life is and how harrowing the death of a loved one is.
So spend that precious time with the ones you love whether that is your family or your friends that are now your family. Life is taken from us in a matter of moments and once taken life is never the same. For me now family is the most important thing in my life and I will never prioritise it less than that. Thank you Nelly for giving me such unconditional love and attention, for me instilling in me a huge love of the land and nature and how to find joy in the simple things in life.
I was lucky enough to be able to write the eulogy for her funeral. This gives a real insight into the incredible woman that she was and I hope that I can continue her legacy of love, connection and loyalty.
Reflection for Nelly
A wise woman once said; Connection to people is why we are here on Earth. We are hard-wired to connect with others. It’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives. If success in life is love and deep connections with people then by gosh did Nelly Doyle have one successful and meaningful life! From not just her deep connections with her children, grand- children & great grandchildren but with her neighbours both old and new, nieces and nephews and even great grandnieces and a network of friends that any of us would struggle to compete with.Nellie was never too old, too busy or too proud to make connections and it was these connections that she cherished so very much.
Nellie was a woman with the ability to always be there when you needed support & listen to all, whether you were a friend, family or somewhere in the middle, Nellie would give her unwavering time and attention to you. With a cup of tea in the bottom kitchen, the top kitchen or the parlour, Nellie had the ability to make you feel like a priority, and together you’d talk through what needed to be done. Happy, sad, worried or excited, Nellie would listen wholeheartedly and leave you with a sense of calm and clarity that only she could provide.
Nelly was a mother to all and for many of us, family or not, crossing Nellies doorway felt like coming home, and leaving her yard felt temporary because you knew you’d be back for more.Nellie showed a curiosity and hunger for life. She displayed a genuine interest in the lives of her friends and family and there wasn’t much that escaped her attention. She had a unique ability to say it as it was without causing offence and to voice her opinion without being judgemental. She held her values strong and was never shy about sharing her thoughts on the matter, but, was equally able to accept someone else’s views without argument. Even in her old age, Nellie was quick as a whip and always a step ahead. She surprised many with her progressive and forward-thinking mind-set and embraced a changing world more openly than many younger generations.
Nellie made the most out of every situation, accepting life as it was and refusing to dwell on how she may have liked it to be. She had her fair share of tough times, but never seemed to let it rock her, define her or get her down for longer than it should. Her immense ability to stay positive was simply inspiring.
She loved the chats and to reminisce over years gone by and offer her words of wisdom to all. And what were these words of wisdom that Nelly dished out to us all; Always always take care and stick up for your own. Never worry or wish for change for no matter what life throws at you, you have to get up and get on with it and stay positive. Cos thats just life as she would say. Many times Nellie has reminded us younger generation the importance of prioritising finding love and having children for her these to her were life greatest achievements.
Nellie led a simple life but an incredibly rich and meaningful one. She truly was a woman who knew what really mattered! She was immensely happy with her home in knockadreen, the memories and life that shared with Davy and felt a huge connection to the land and to the people.
Her resilience and strength over the last few months was astounding. And I have no doubt that it came from her passion for life and from wanting to spend as much time as possible with the people she loved. Her zest for life and positivity touched us all over this past year.
In today’s modern world it’s easy to get caught up in materialistic things and chasing happiness; and all the time forgetting the important simple things that Nelly Doyle never took for granted. So Lets make sure that Nelly’s legacy of connection, loyalty, positivity love and community lives on in the lives of us all. As Father Kelly said ‘here here’ to the institution on the hill.