Apologies that this is quite an un-cheery blog. I don’t know that I know where to start. This weekend was not up there with the best.
On Friday we set off for Swansea from Reading, motoring happily down the M4. Somewhere just beyond Bath we had a tire blow out. In the outside lane of the motorway. At rush hour. We noticed something wrong with the car, rattling noises and then major swerving across the lane, at which point Chris braked, and before we knew what had happened we had spun round 180 degrees and smacked the passenger side into the central reservation. We ended up sitting in the middle of the motorway facing the wrong way, which was a tad unnerving! We’re both fine though, the only effect on us was a bump on my elbow where the bone met the car door quite forcefully. For a number of reasons, not least of which very very good luck, the accident wasn’t as bad as it could have been. The traffic was slower so we weren’t going as fast as we might have been, there was a temporary central reservation with a band of gravel next to it which slowed us down completely so we didn’t hit it at that much speed. And it all happened just between the Bath and Bristol junctions so we were near to Chris’ parents house, where we got towed once the recovery van turned up. The amusing moment was once the highways agency people had stopped the traffic and got us back to the hard shoulder, they announced they would just ‘clear the motorway’, produced what looked like large brooms, and proceeded to sweep the M4 in front of 3 lanes of traffic!! In the end, we made it relatively unscathed to Chris’ parents house where wine and food awaited us. What was still a very scary experience could have been a lot worse.
On Friday night we also found out that my Grandma was not doing well, and the doctors had said that there was nothing else they could do to help her, and the end was not far away. On Saturday morning she died. She had been taken back into hospital last weekend with pneumonia, and was retaining a lot of fluid which was getting into her lungs. She had stopped eating and wasn’t able to take most of her medication. From Friday night my dad and his siblings decided to stay with her 24 hours a day so that she would have someone with her at the end. Sometime just before 8am on Saturday her breathing slowed and she just slipped away. It was the most peaceful we could have hoped for. She wasn’t scared or in pain, and by then she wasn’t even really aware of what was happening to her, so she wasn’t terrified and knowing what was coming. She was sleeping lots that night, and each time she opened her eyes there was a face she knew. And now she is no longer in pain or fear. She was 3 months from her 99th birthday. She had 5 children, 14 grandchildren, countless great-grandchildren and a few great-great grandchildren. She knew all their names and birthdays, and enjoyed nothing more than being surrounded by her family. She lived a full and long life, and it doesn’t feel heartless to say that this was the right time. We will miss her, but I know that now she is at rest. Please keep the family in your prayers. The funeral will be next Monday.
The weekend, though extremely difficult, was made easier by some truly wonderful friends, who gave us lifts in the absence of our car, made us food and cheered us up. Wine was drunk, stories told and hugs given and received. The best place to be when life throws these things at you is surrounded by friends.