Hiraeth

 Recently I have begun to realise just how important grandparents are, as a child I felt the excitement of seeing them but I don’t think I really realised the connection there is between a grandparent and a grandchild. It’s one of those classic stories of you not realising what you have until it’s gone, and unfortunately that is a rotten way to learn this lesson.

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“It’s not homesickness. Homesickness is too weak. You feel hiraeth. A longing of the soul to come home.” – Gillian Thomas

Since I had my eldest son I see so many traits in him that come from grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles…and this has helped me realise how much value family really does hold. Without my grandparents I wouldn’t have the wonderful boys I have today.

Earlier this week my dad travelled to Wales to say his final goodbyes to my Nan. My Nanny Megan was a hard working, kind hearted, strong woman who is greatly missed.

Most of my earliest memories of my Nan were of us pottering around her beloved garden, where I would explore the multitude of garden statues with childish wonder.  My second memory is of our family holidays playing Scrabble and poker, this is where I realised how stubborn and competitive she could be. She was a very determined women but this worked in her favour.

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Megan Stock and Leslie Stone on their wedding day

But my most powerful memory is when my grandad died. My grandparents had gotten divorced before I was born but had reunited during my childhood and I had nearly always known them as a couple. When my grandad died my uncle bought my Nan up from London to my grandad’s house where we had all congregated; I remember her coming through the front door and wailing in heartache as she was told he had passed away. It was the most demoralizing sound I had ever heard.

We were later told that my grandad had proposed and they were going to announce their engagement the following week at Christmas. But despite how disheartening this was I can now take solace in knowing that she is not only with my grandad but that she has returned to Wales to be with her family and I hope any hiraeth she felt in life is now fulfilled.

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Megan and Leslie (left)

*Hiraeth (Welsh:  a longing for one’s homeland, but it’s not mere homesickness. It’s an expression of the bond one feels with one’s home country when one is away from it. “As soon as I step over the border into Wales my hiraeth evaporates. I am home.”) the Urban Dictionary

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