It's okay Nana

A diary for myself and my family of updated information about her. I am doing this so I can look back in the future and see how strong she is/was (depending on the time you read this) It is very personal.

This is hard to think about let alone write about! There has been some daunting, no, frightful news in my family; this is going to be more than heart-breaking to document.

My Mum sat me down in our old-fashioned, almost farm house like Kitchen in mid-January and agonisingly broke the news to both me and Hayley; we were crushed; distressingly crying and questioning why it is happening. She doesn't deserve this, she is the most beautiful person inside and out and now Mother Nature is hastily snatching her away from us. It is wrong, why would she take her away from us so cruelly?

28th January 2015

Caitlin and Kenan didn't know about this until the 28th January considering that Mum wanted to know in full extent of the circumstance and what is wrong before telling my siblings. They obviously didn't take it well but Mum told them that whatever happens, we have to be brave for her and show her we love her and support her through all of this.

Without a sound, Kenan went up to his room and sat mutely, probably to run this through his head over and over again trying to comprehend why this is happening to her and how much she doesn't deserve this cruelty. Caitlin exited sadly to her room to try and go to sleep so she could block it all out. I, with purpose, went to check on them to see if they were alright.

Opening the door to Caitlin's large pink room, I noticed her stood in the middle of the room looking at me with a small, encouraging smile encouraging me that she is okay, but as soon as I opened my arms to her, she ran over and cried in my arms. Telling her I loved her only made her cry more, nevertheless, she needed to hear it. Once her tears were dry and she joked about how she "snotted" on my jumper, I strolled over to Kenan's room.

He was just sat there, not moving, not blinking; he was so mute. Walking over to him, he looked at me with no expression on his face like he was ice-cold, and I went over, hugged him and told him I loved him. Both siblings needed to hear this - we never know when any of us will be cruelly snatched away; it was best to tell them now; it was the prime time. 

My Nana was rushed into hospital early morning. After many scans and tests, it turns out that her illness is terminal and she won't get better. The news crushed all of us. She has terminal Lung Cancer which has now spread to her Kidneys and her neck - she is now in a head and neck brace; if she moves, it could be fatal.

The Doctors told her so professionally and calmly that they have two options: Radiation or an Operation on her neck. They are still deciding but it is pushing more to Radiotherapy, I am hoping this is good news considering now she doesn't have to have the operation. However, if she is given too much radiation, it could weaken her neck bone and cause it to collapse making her paralysed. She is taking the risk.

Nana is so brave.

Beautifully, my Grandad spends every waking second next to my Nana's bedside trying to make her feel comfortable and relaxed, also making her laugh and encouraging her that she will be okay; she could have the rest of her life to explore; to live; to be happy; to see her family grow up, thanks to there not being a 'how long until she lives.' No one knows how impeccable and exclusive this illness is; no one knows how long she has left on this Earth so we are all spending as much time as we can with our beloved Nana. We all know Nana is a fighter and she will take this Cancer head on so she can live as long as possible - she won't give up even if times get rough. 

It's okay Nana, we will stand by your side.

29th January 2015

I went to visit Nana in hospital; Mum warned me what state she was in. As I walked over to her bedside, I was shocked to see her lay down straight with her head and neck brace, but I held myself together, put a smile on my face, held her hand and spoke to her.

She was crying but trying to not make it obvious - she was happy to see me. Mum told me she had been excited to see me and have been asking about me since the morning because she knew Mum would come pick me up from home and take me to go see her.

Wired up to a drip, she also had morphine stored in her hand to ease the pain. It was horrible seeing her in the hospital bed unable to move and unable to see me. The head and neck brace only made her look upwards at the ceiling so I had to lean over so she could see my face.

Luckily she has great hearing so we could all still have a normal conversation. Nana would say this too: "every cloud has a silver lining." Though she is in hospital, she is lucky to still be alive and here with us. Everyday she wakes up and we are all thankful she is still with us, still breathing, still laughing, still talking, still beautiful.

There was some good news that day, the Doctors told my Nana that possibly soon she will be able to stand up, walk around, and then go home, but she will still have to wear a neck brace. Waiting outside her hospital ward was her electric bed - she had been lying on an air bed to keep her comfortable, however, this electric bed will allow her to sit up and be able to see and interact with her family. At least there was some good news and Nana can finally stop staring at the ceiling whilst she has visitors; pretty sure that lying straight was uncomfortable after a while too.

Though there is good news, all of us including Nana, know the end outcome. Nana is going to die and we all have to watch her day by day. Don't worry Nana, we are all here to support you through this - your family are there for you! 

Though I am not religious, those who are, I wish for you to pray for my Nana. Pray for:

  • Comfort
  • NO Pain
  • Happiness
  • Strength
  • A longer life

She needs all of these. Though Nana puts on a brave face, I know she is devastated that she knows she wont be here much longer. Nana only has a few days, weeks, months, or years, but it still isn't enough time! I wish she was healthy, I wish she didn't have this awful illness.

It's okay Nana, I will love you and keep you happy.

30th January 2015

For Nana, I have been putting on a brave face and acting like she is not ill because then she is happier and knows I am not stressing about all of this. The more calm I look, the more calm she is, and the more normal our conversations and visitations. Putting on a brave face isn't just for Nana, it is also for my younger siblings. As I am the eldest, I have to put on a brave face and tell them everything is okay and Nana is happy for now. I have to teach them to treasure the time with her, tell her you love her everyday, tell her that you support her, and to keep on smiling even if you feel so down.

We all know she is passing away but not anytime soon!

However, though I was at home, my Mum has picked up my Uncle and my Grandad early that morning and drove them to the hospital. My Grandad insists on getting there as early as possible so he can be with his wife. 

Seeing my Grandad by my Nana's side constantly just made me think:

"I hope one day someone is in love with me like my Grandad is with my Nana. I hope he would spend every single waking second he can to be by my side, to support me and hold me in tough times, and to put on a brave face even though he knows I won't be around for long."

My Uncle hasn't seen my Nana in years but either my Mum or my Grandad got back in touch with him and told him the news - he is now there for my Nana. Forgive and forget, we need family at times like this, at times that are extremely important, at times of life and death. My Auntie's haven't been in touch either but now they all know, and one by one, they are going to visit my Nana both at the hospital and at home. 

Our family is bonding again, but for the wrong reasons. The whole family should have been bonding before Nana fell ill, not whilst she is ill. It's the wrong way around! Why is it that families are pulled closer when death is close by?

My two cousins, Ryan and Karl, that were at Uni at the time that Nana was rushed to hospital, we picked up by their Dad and brought home so my Auntie could break the news to them. Ryan didn't take the news so well, but Karl is being strong.

On the same day they both asked to visit Nana. When they got there, Karl went over and gave Nana a kiss and said hello, Ryan did the same but burst out crying. Poor boys, they have to go back to Uni alone soon. Such a bad time for everyone - we love Nana, she is the light and soul of the family!

Ryan and Karl are old enough to know, but their little sister is only young so my Auntie told her that Nana has a poorly neck and needs to spend a little bit of time in the hospital to get better. She is too young to know the truth.

It's okay Nana, keep fighting for a longer life.

31st January 2015

Nana is so lucky to have a huge family with my Grandad - 12 children they have had to bring up together. The support she has is unreal and it makes my heart melt knowing everyone is there for her. She had so many visitors today that one of the nurses came in and told some of them that they had to leave. You are only allowed 3 people max at a time visit - Nana had 10.

The Doctor has inched up my Nana's electric bed by only a teeny 2 inches. It's only because if she sat straight up, she would feel like she is drunk so going inch by inch will help her sit up straight - it is a slow process but in a few weeks she will be able to sit upright and maybe walk around. We have to remember, a few weeks and she will be able to go home and be relaxed in her own house - the more comfortable she is, the better.

It's okay Nana, you are strong willed and you will take on this Cancer.

2nd February 2015

Mum visited Nana everyday for a nearly a week now; she drops my Grandad off every morning at the hospital so he can spend all day by my Nana's side. I am going to the hospital tomorrow to see Nana, and thankfully she can see us all a little more now she is inched up more. 

Nana's head brace has been removed and the neck brace has been changed. It is now a neck brace that is attached to a larger part that raps around her waste - like the ones you have when you have scoliosis. Having the head brace off is good because now Nana isn't stuck staring at the ceiling and she can now look at everyone and communicate more, which is so much better for her and she can interact more.

Knowing Nana will be in the hospital for a few more weeks saddens me because she should be at home where she is relaxed more - she can be where she is comfortable and cope with this terminal illness. Once she is home though, the ambulance will pick her up for her appointments at the hospital (Doctors have decided to go through with Radiotherapy) so it will be easier to get transport. At least she doesn't need an operation on her neck, there were so many risks!  

It's okay Nana, we have you in our lives still and we are treasuring every second with you.

3rd February 2015

Nana, your mum came to visit last night whilst we were all asleep. Sadly, she kept flicking the switch on the fan above the oven on and off and woke my Mum up to the point where Mum had to shout at Great Nana. She shouted telling her to pack it in haha. At least she was letting us know she is there.

I visited Nana in hospital today and I was happy to see she was out of that awful head brace, but she had a neck brace that wrapped around her waist and joined to the neck. She was sat up slightly on the electric bed so she could see us all more, which is good and she can interact more with us. Around 7pm, one of the nurses came round and told Nana that her scans were sent to a specialist hospital and the Doctors were impressed by her scans, which means good news. Turns out the cancer in her neck isn't on her spinal cord so there is a chance they can cut it out.

So happy! Sadly, though they might be able to remove the tumour in her neck, they can't remove the ones on her kidneys and chest/lung. Nana is being moved to the specialist hospital tomorrow morning, but Grandad can't spend all day looking after her like he does at her current hospital so he is quite upset about that. I would be too.

Nana made herself upset a little today whilst Mum was calling her brothers and sisters to tell them the recent news. Nana said: "it was only a cold and now look how its turned out." I wish she wasn't ill, i wish it was just a cold. I love you Nana, I am here for you. We all are!

It's okay Nana, even when you pass away, your family and I will think about you everyday.

6th February 2015

I'm sorry Nana, I spent most of my night crying about you - I am so worried. You are soon to be having an operation if it is still the Doctor's plan, otherwise it will still be to Radiotherapy. Minds are changed everyday which is really frustrating; we all want to know what is going on and what the actual plan is. Though I cried, I felt a little better after my crying session, I realised you are still with us and it could be years before anything even happens.

You have changed hospitals to a specialist one, that's when everything changed. The Doctors found that your cancer isn't on your spinal cord - thank god - so it is operate-able, so hopefully the Doctors can cut it out. However, the final verdict isn't decided, again, so everyone is still confused of what is happening. God knows how you are feeling: frustrated? Annoyed? Sad? Happy (that it isn't on your spinal cord)? You are so strong Nana. I hope I become as brave as you if my life turns for the worst. You are my role model.

There is still hope, we have Cancer Research, we could tackle your terminal cancer. It may even change everything and you could be better before you know it. All we need is hope. All you need is our support and you have it. I love you Nana, i'm sorry I cried, I tried to be strong but I just needed to release all these bad thoughts and feelings - it all built up and erupted like a volcano. Don't worry Nana, I wasn't alone when I cried, Alex was holding me tight. I wish I was holding you tight right now.

It's okay Nana, we will keep reminding you of how much we love and support you.

10th February 2015

Nana was upset all day but she only told us that "it's just one of those days" you know, when we all get emotional for no reason, but Nana has a valid reason.

The Doctors changed their minds yet again and want to do radiotherapy now because they have found a fracture in her C2 Vertibre and another half way down her spine. If the radiation doesn't work she has to go for major surgery.

Major surgery involves putting a metal plate on the back of her skull and neck, and placing screws in them to hold her head and neck steady. Doctors are trying to leave that to the very last resort because it is so major and scary.

How painful and uncomfortable does that sound. Her spine is disintegrating which means her spine is weak, so she may suffer more fractures. She may even become paralyzed but everyone is trying to think positively about the radiation and hoping it works. Fingers crossed.

Thankfully, Nana is being moved back to Bury where she is closer to home, plus the sooner she is back at the other hospital, the sooner she can start her radiotherapy start to sit then stand up. All in all, she will eventually be allowed to come home and feel better in her natural and (word for known surroundings) surroundings. If the radiotherapy doesn't work however, she will have to go for major surgery and no one wants that to be an option - I hope Nana is okay, I saw her crying, I hope that she is being positive and not thinking about the last resort.

It's okay Nana, we will remember our treasured memories we have had with you.

26th March 2015

It has been almost a month since you have been home; you have carers coming round to your house to help you with your medication and other requirements, yet you still aren't the same. You are constantly lay so still on your hospital bed in your living room, whilst Grandad is sad on his chair which so close up to you protecting you whilst you sleep. 

Grandad's love for you is shown more these past few months than I have ever seen: he is the provider; the protector; the love of your life, and he will be by your side every minute of everyday. It is truly beautiful to see.

For the past few weeks you have been given radiotherapy to shrink the cancer in your neck; it has worked, however, the cancer is still there. On a positive note, the pain in your neck is easing and you are able to sit up and exercise your legs for a few minutes a day; we need to build up your leg and body strength again as a result of lying on a bed straight for the past couple of months. Slowly but surely Nana.

I brought you flowers for Mother's day Nana, you loved them! I am so happy you liked them. Once you were diagnosed with cancer I realised more that Grandmothers do a lot for their grandchildren and there, sadly, isn't a Grandparent's Day to celebrate them and show them our gratitude for everything they do for us. People forget how much Grandmothers and Grandfathers actually do for their family and how supportive they are towards them, this is what people need to recognise and be able to give them back the love that they receive. 

Thinking about that, I wanted you to know that I love you and wanted to show you how much I appreciate what you have always done for me; for everything you have ever helped me through; helping me through the tough times, the happy times, and the sad times. You have always been there for me and I wanted to comprehend that to you the best way I could.

It's okay Nana, it's Mother's Day - it's a day to spoil you.

27th April 2015

Hey Nana, it's not good news i'm afraid. The Doctor came today and it was horrible, distressing news - you have only less than a week left to be here with us; End Of Life stage. Everyone cried today Nana, including Grandad - I have never ever seen him cry. As soon as your daughters hugged him, he cried; hard. I held back my tears, as I wanted to show my Mum, Aunt, and Grandad that I can be strong for you - I can be there for the family.

Kenan and Caitlin don't know how long you have left and they won't know - they are too fragile and, quite frankly, Caitlin is too young to face this news. Don't worry though Nana, both Hayley and I know so we are prepared when you pass away and we have to break the news to the youngest ones. I love you Nana. You have started to mumble in your sleep and you are more in pain now, which shows us that you have definitely not got long left. I'm here for you Nana. 

Please don't be scared. You are a true believer, like Mum and me, of the Angels so we know you will be taken great care of by both the angels and your family whom have passed years ago. At least you get to see your passed family again, right? Say hello to them for me.

Can you promise me one thing Nana? If I take home one of your favourite ornaments, can you please come and visit me when you are passed away? Can you please move the ornament to another place in the room to show you are there and have come to visit? It will mean a lot to me to know you are safe and happy in the After Life. 

When I came home after visiting you, I broke the news to Alex - he is being strong for me. He held me whilst I cried so hard, I cried for hours whilst Alex held me so close and so tight. I want you to be here for years on end Nana, I would only wish you would stay with us. I hate how much this is hurting Grandad; I hate how much you are in pain. Luckily, no, not luckily, thankfully, the Doctors are giving you Morphine to ease the pain - we want you to be as comfortable as possible. 

Believe us Nana, we want you to be comfy and pain-free. We are all trying to be strong for you; we love you so much! 

It's okay Nana, I Love You.

2nd May 2015

You don't half know how to time things, eh Nana? On this very day, this tragic; horrific; sad day, you decided that the time came where you will join your passed-away family in the Afterlife. At around 09:30pm (I think) you sadly said you final goodbyes to Grandad, Mum, and a couple of my Aunties.

The reason you timed this perfectly was because this is the day my next door neighbour had gotten married. The day started with highs, but sadly, the end went down to a ghastly low. Nana, remember what I said on the 27th April? Remember I asked you to come and visit me? Please do that. I miss you so much. I wish I was by your side the moment you passed away so I could give you a final kiss goodbye.

It's okay Nana, you can now rest in peace and join your family in Heaven.

12th May 2015

Today is the day. Today is your Cremation. At 09:30am we had a ceremony to celebrate your life and mourn your passing. Alexander came with me; I hope you don't mind. He wanted to pay his respects, as he loves you too.

You passing never really settled in until today, as before today I guess I was numb from the shock. You were only diagnosed with terminal lung Cancer three months ago and even that hadn't even settled in yet. You haven't even hit 70. You were too young, to beautiful, and too much of an amazing person to be cruelly snatched away from us. No one expected such a gorgeous person inside and out to be taken away; you had years and years ahead of you. Why is the world so cruel?

During the ceremony, I held Grandad's hand as he cried - I cried too. Seeing you there surrounded by flowers made it finally set in that I would never see you again. Everything you have ever done, everything you have ever given me, I will cherish for the rest of my life. Beautifully, the ceremony went perfect - everyone gave their respects and told you what they wanted to say; last words. After the ceremony we spent hours back at your home, we remembered the good times, we remember to laugh and cry, we remembered how much of a beautiful person you are.

No pain. No sadness. You are finally free from the terrifying act of Cancer - the Big C. No one should ever have to go through what you did. I hope the angels and family members are looking after you, and I hope you are with us, whom are still living, and being by our side through your mourning. 

Whenever I am upset or need to talk to you, I will light the candles on my bedside table - the memorial I had created for you. See the pink teddy? That's yours. It fell on me whilst I was sat in your living room, and Grandad insisted I take it home. Obviously I wasn't going to say No and gladly brought it home to remember you by. See the necklace on your memorial laminated paper that was given to everyone at your cremation? That is the necklace you had brought me for my 18th Birthday. I love this necklace and I will still carry on wearing it to remember you - placing it back on the table where it belongs at night.

Every night Alex and I will light the two pink candles to show we respect and love you from the bottom of our hearts. If you are watching over me, please see that I have loved and still love you so very much and wish that you were still here, living with Grandad in your cute Bungalow, watching your Children, Grand-Children and Great-Grand-Children grow up. Honestly, I was hoping I would have given birth to your first Great-Grand-Child, as Mum is your youngest and her children haven't had kids yet. 

Can you see the pink quartz stone? Do you remember what it symbolizes? It symbolizes love and strength. Honestly, the stone was meant for you. You have been so strong and the strength you had in you through these three months shows me how much of a role model you really are to myself and to the rest of the family. I look up to you, and I will keep looking up to you as I grow older. Pink Quartz also mean love and strength within family and relationships - it's obvious why I put this stone on the memorial table with the candles, teddy, necklace, and laminated remembrance card. 

Remember, it's okay Nana.

You were taken way too soon. May you rest in peace.

In Loving Memory of P A O'Hara
29th July 1946 - 2nd May 2015 
68 Years Young.

Much love as I can give with a broken heart,


  1. This is such a beautiful post! My nana hasn't been well for a while and Im very worried. I hope all your family are finding strength from what appears to be a very loving nana! x

    1. Thank you so much. I'm sorry to hear about you Nana not being well. I hope she is strong and gets better!
      Your kind words mean a lot! Thank you for taking the time to comment after reading such a long post - I really appreciate it

      Much love,
      Lauren O'Hara

  2. As horrible as it must have been to live through this, this post must help in a way because you can remember the final few moments and how you were feeling. My great-nan died when I was 13 and although I can remember it, I can't really remember it as well. I kind of wish I had something to look back on. I hope the past month hasn't been too difficult for you, and that she has shown herself to you in some way :)

    Lauren :) x

    1. Yeah im glad i decided to write everything down so i can look back and see how strong she was and how the whole family coped. Sorry about you great-nan :/ i'm still coming to terms with her passing atm. But i did hear her say 'hello' as if she was wondering if i could hear her. Thank you for commenting


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