Today’s amazing Guest Post is from T-J.
“Their devotion showed me that there were not versions of love. There was only love. It had no equal and it was worth searching for. Even if that search lasted a lifetime.” Nurse Jenny Lee talking about the love of brother and sister Frank & Peggy in Episode 5 of Call the Midwife.
This has reminded me of the love my Nan and Grandad shared. Their story is so sad really, but proves Jenny’s assertion that love “is worth searching for”.
We’ve never heard a lot about how they met, or courted. But from how Nan talked about it, they knew they loved each other from early on. They married and had a daughter. The war started, and as Grandad worked in a garage, he was one of the men that stayed home. He was also an Air Raid Warden, and I can’t begin to imagine what that was like. They lived in Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire, so often had bombers coming over on their way to London. Scary.
7 years after my Aunt was born, my Dad arrived. And another few years later, his youngest sister came into the world.
There are all sorts of stories about what happened around this time. And Nan never really talked about it. But the basic thing was that Nan didn’t want any more children. She intimated that her 3rd was a mistake. I imagine that it wasn’t easy finding enough food for everyone. Nan had been brought up on an estate – her father being the Head Gardener at a large family house. She was used to having fine things, and having enough good food to eat.
My Grandad strayed away from home. It must have gone on for a while, before he finally left. But my Dad says he was 4, meaning his younger sister was a baby.
I guess Nan was bitter. She struggled to keep her family together, when others encouraged her to split the children up. Her children don’t describe her as a happy person. But she certainly loved them. And my Grandad. She refused to allow him a divorce, so he couldn’t marry his mistress until the laws changed in the early 1970s. She kept hoping he would come back.
She kept a strong Christian faith throughout her life, and was ready to welcome him back, despite his behaviour.
They led separate lives, and it sounds like the family were kept apart by other parts of Grandad’s family. It was one of those things. Who knows what may have been if people hadn’t interfered?
When Grandad’s second wife died, he moved to be near his 3rd daughter, which was only 10 miles away from where my Nan lived. I’d always known all my Grandparents, and my Dad had re-met his Dad when he was 21, having not seen him since he was 4 years old.
I achieved my Queen’s Guide and we were having a big party to celebrate, (any excuse!). I HAD to invite my Grandparents didn’t I? I couldn’t leave one out. They’d all supported me through my life.
So it happened. Nan and Grandad met for coffee before our party. When I was 18, they were both in the same room at the same time. It was amazing. And yes, you’ve guessed it – they got back together.
Grandad tried so hard to make amends with Nan. It started with him doing odd jobs around her house. But they then decided to get married to cement their relationship again. Such a happy occasion. Grandad’s youngest daughter described her Dad as “never being as happy” as when he was with Nan. Nan mellowed. She wasn’t as hard from then on. She’d got her one and only love back.
They’d found each other. They hadn’t had particularly happy lives apart, but together they’d created 3 children. They’d had fulfilling lives. Together they were happy. Love truly won out and was worth waiting for.
It’s so sad that my Grandad died unexpectedly 6 months after they re-married. But Nan still loved her man, and talked about him in a different way.
She loved him and her God until the end. Love IS worth searching for. Even if it does take a lifetime and doesn’t last long.
I wish you ALL the love in the world. May your search be short, and LOVE make you happy.
T-J Hughes – @tj_bralady
Founder of the Bra Lady Network, & online shops bras4mums & bras4all.
Blog at Support4Women – family, friends, business, health, and community