I was supposed to be sat on a bus heading to Barcelona airport right now. I was supposed to be boarding a plane to fly back to the UK. I was supposed to be accompanying my mum for a pre-med on Monday ready for the bone marrow transplant she will be doing in a few short weeks which will save my Aunt's life. I was supposed to pack last night. I was supposed to give my cats the biggest cuddles I could as I whispered "see you in five days" in their little fluffy ears. I was supposed to be visiting one of the strongest, most outspoken, stubborn, energetic souls I have ever known in hospital again.
Up until six weeks ago my Nan, at the grand age of eighty five, (something my Grandad only just found out, she'd lied to him about her age telling him she was two years younger for the duration of their whole marriage), was still running around like a woman in her sixties. She still traveled great distances to shop, insisted upon going out for meals and drinks, never failed to go to her flower arranging club and always sent over our home town's weekly newspaper colouring the black and white pages with her hand written notes of gossip and opinions on particular stories.
Yesterday I received the news that it was only a matter of time. All of her organs have failed and she has asked for no one to see her. I changed my flight so that my sister could take my place, just in case there's a chance she changes her mind and allows visitors. I visited my Nan quite a few times during my trip back to Cornwall last week and told her countless times that I loved her dearly. I had my time to say goodbye. Practically speaking it makes sense for me to be here, so that when the time comes and my Dad needs to fly over before my Mum gets back, I can look after the many pets we have accumulated between the four of us as well as the big family farmhouse.
It's times like this that you realise how people, above all else, come first in life. I know I go on and on about it, but never take anyone for granted. Make sure you tell those special to you that you love them, always part on good terms and appreciate every tiny moment you have together.
Life is made up of the memories you create, the adventures you embark on, the drunken giggles and hyper episodes. It's dancing until your feet hurt, hugging someone for that second too long and daring others to do challenging things.
It's pushing yourself far beyond your limits, allowing friends and family to pick you up when it seems impossible. It's being open, letting that special person in and accepting help even when you stubbornly wish to do it alone.
My Nan has always lived life to the full, she's spoken her mind too bluntly on more occasions than she ever should have. She has had crazy adventures, danced until the early hours and drank far too much. She encouraged me to sing and dance like no one was watching, sat on her wooden chair shouting "This is theatre darling!". Watching as I paraded in many an outfit from her dress up box with Tina Turna on in the background.
"You're just like your Nan" family members have said, shaking their head as I breathlessly recount a story in the most dramatic way possible, moving around to add emphasis with a sparkle in my eye. That's what I'm always going to remember you for Nan, that mischievous glint in your eyes.
On the few times I've spoken to you about death, usually when you've been outraged that all of your friends were dying, and could they not just hold on a little longer for the love of god?! You've looked me in the eyes, and very bluntly said "It happens to us all Peta. We'll all die eventually, it's what you do now that counts."
So, whilst I await the news I am so dreading, before I write a letter dedicated solely to you Nan, because you always were the star of the show. Before I can accept the inevitable, I'd like to take a moment to be grateful for the wonderful, absolutely bonkers, lovely people in my life. I'd like to be grateful for the terrible photos, the blurry seconds captured forever in time and the indescribable moments that make up life.
Life isn't about arriving at the finishing line in pristine condition, perfect hair, stunning make up and an incredible body. It's about skidding to a halt, dust flying every where, hair a mess, a face full of all the emotions, bruised, out of breath and thinking I did everything I ever wanted to do. I lived.
So here's to living exactly like you have done Nan, here's to you.