In July this year my beloved Gran Susan died at the age of 93. My gran was a huge part of my life, and her passing has been a very painful loss. I both admired and cringed in equal measure at her unfaultering honesty, a woman never afraid to speak her own mind.
Many people offering their condolences pointed out that she'd lived to a good age, had a full life. However, this did not make her death any easier to accept, in some ways it was harder. I had longer to bond with her, and since her health was relatively good and she had such a wicked sense of humour, she almost seemed invincible to both my sister and myself. The funeral was, of course, extremely sad, and as my family and I faced the difficult task of the lineup whilst trying to maintain our composure, Doris Day's "Que sera, sera" played as everyone filtered out of the crematorium. I had suggested that song, as she used to sing it to my sister and I as little girls. The song brought back bittersweet memories, and I have since been thinking that her philosophy on life...whatever will be, will be, seems to have been the case for me this summer, and in many other areas of my life. The song can be found here:
For example, had things turned out as they were meant to this summer, I would not have had the chance to visit my gran one final time at the hospital, nor would I have been able to attend her funeral. Things that at the time seemed to be disasterous, actually turned out to be blessings in disguise. I have written before about being a mum of two boys, and for the past three years, guardian to my two nieces from Romania. The girls were supposed to be holidaying in Romania this year, but unfortunately, the relative who was to care for them, had to back out due to unforeseen circumstances. My husband and I had booked a holiday to Dubai for ourselves and the boys. There was no way to change the booking to accommodate the girls, and the only reason we were going was because of the free child offer, which would not apply to another two kids. I was in a panic at the thought of losing out on our much needed holiday and my attention became fully focused on arranging alternative child care for the girls while we were away. My sister and her husband agreed to take on the responsibility, and I could finally start looking forward to our trip.
On July 4th, the day before our flight, I was awoken by my husband saying the Victor Meldrew classic, "I don't believe it!" I felt the colour drain from my face and heartrate go through the roof as he told me that A's passport had expired. In a state of disbelief I grabbed the passport from his hand, hoping it was some cruel joke he was playing on me. Sadly, it was not, the passport was useless, out of date by 3 months. Amazingly, we did not get in a huge fight blaming each other, we just had to accept our major holidaying faux pas and make a mental note never to let it happen again. I'm pretty sure we'd overlooked the issue because we were so busy thinking of a solution for where the girls would stay while we were away. I started researching our options, and after speaking to a very sympathetic lady at the passport office, we had to accept that there was no quick fix. An adult can have an emergency passport within 4 hours, but a child passport takes up to a week...nota bene.
After some tears and tantrums (me, not the kids) it was agreed that Florin would travel with my elder son, while I stayed home with A. waiting for the new passport and flying out once we had it. I made endless phone calls to the Passport office hoping for a cancellation to move forward my appointment, and I was successful eventually. The woman at the Passport office could not have been any nicer, and she assured me she would do her very best to get me the passport within the next few days. True to her word, the passport was ready in two days, however, my gran had passed away by then. I am so glad I was able to be at home when it happened, and although it had been a stressful time, everything worked out for the best. I attended the funeral minus the kids, but brought them along for the coffee bit afterwards (I'm sure there must be an official term for it, but you know what I mean). One of the guests tapped A. on the head as they left, I was pretty embarrassed when he said "stop patting my head, I'm not a dog!" The guest looked back over her shoulder, a puzzled look on her face, and then walked on, assuming she must have misheard. A. definitely seems to have inherited a cheeky streak from my gran, and I'll be sure to remind him of it as he grows older.
I mentioned there are other areas in my life where unexpected things have happened in a que sera sera kind of way. I met my husband at the age of 21 on a family holiday I was not keen to go on. I'm glad I was persuaded otherwise, or we would never have met at that Spanish foam party...yes, I did say foam party :) My husband is Romanian, which is also a little strange, since the only charity appeal that I became involved in growing up was for Romanian orphans; I arranged a bring and buy sale with a friend at school to try to help. My project I chose to do for History at high school was on immigration to Britain, a subject now very close to my heart. A series of coincidences yes, but still, it does make me feel that our marriage was meant to be.
Another perfect example of que sera sera in my life is when we decided to become the guardians to our nieces. We have two wonderful boys, but I still longed for a baby girl. My husband was slowly coming round to the idea when we discovered the terrible poverty and neglect being suffered by our nieces in Romania, then aged 6 and 7. Far from an easy decision, we debated what was the best solution, and whether we'd be able to meet the challenges of taking on such a huge responsibilty. Now, 3 years later I can say that we did not underestimate the challenges we would face, but I know without a shadow of a doubt that we did the right thing. I had hoped for a daughter, and the timing was such that at the right stage in my life, I welcomed two girls, who are like daughters to me, into our family.
Whatever will be, will be....
Why not share some of your stories of situations that seemed to be outwith your control but have worked out well. I'd love to read them.