This coming Sunday is the triplets christening. We were talking about the girls middle names last night and it has reminded us of someone who would have been making the cake for us, making little gift bags for all the kids and filling the day with some serious, infectious laughter.
Auntie Liz was a woman who had as a child had a big effect on me, in fact anyone who met her became instantly aware they were in the presence of a bright light. She was unforgettable.
She dedicated her life to helping children as a social worker in Bristol, then later as a teacher. I remember one time as a kid my father coming back to my Nana’s house, drunk and threatening suicide, Liz was instantly called and was driving over, there was an immediate relief, she had a presence that made you safe.
I didn’t really see her. or my family for years after I left home. I wandered off into the world with my problems. and didn’t care to look back. I would see them occasionally.
A few years ago , not long after getting sober, I married Stacey. Shortly after the wedding my Mum was taken into hospital, she had been ill for a while. Three months later she was finally diagnosed with an aggressive cancer. By the time it was discovered it had already spread to her brain.
My mother has also had a tough ride, aswell as my older brother. If there is ever a reason for me to be a better man under my roof, it’s from experiencing the damage a man overwhelmed with resentment can cause to his family. It took me a long time to see it as I became consumed by it myself. No one is unaffected.
By some miracle my Mum responded to the treatment and is now cancer free. There are some tough cookies in my family. She survived to become a triplet Nana. She is also an amazing lady.
During Mum’s treatment Liz and myself took care of a lot, I couldn’t have managed half of it alone. It also gave me an opportunity to get to know her more. We maintained contact after. She absolutely loved Stacey and Frankie. Even Stacey’s family became family. To her family was everything, I now understand that importance.
There was nothing she loved more than to see someone overcome problems, and start to succeed in life. She always made sure I was looking after my little family and moving forward.
She was exited when we got the house, and over the moon by the news of the triplets, what she called a miracle. We talked regularly right up to the middle of the pregnancy, when she was taken to hospital for tests on her hip.
The cancer had spread To her spine, no one knew. Liz hadn’t seen a doctor in forty years. Four weeks later she passed away. No one believed for a minute she wouldn’t come out of hospital. And we didn’t ever think she wouldn’t meet our triplets. Ava, Blakely and Lacey arrived two months later.
Other than my Mum she became my closest family member. Maybe because it happened in the middle of the Pregnancy, with so much happening, it didn’t quite all sink in. I’ve realised today, now the storm has passed a little how much I’m going to miss her. I’m sad she never got to see the safe arrival of all three girls. Also for them, that they will never have met her.
Two of the triplets middle names are from Mum’s and grandmothers, apart from Blakely. She is Blakely Elizabeth Frankie. Her name will stay with us.
She helped more people, and affected more people than anyone I’ve ever known. I’m thankful that she was here to share in so much of the last few years of my life sober. She would have loved my girls the same way she loved all of us, no one was treated any differently. Everyone was made to feel special.
So thank you Liz, for everything you did for me, for us as a family. I never got to say goodbye. But you will be remembered by all of us. And without any doubt, never forgotten.