One of my closest friends was my Great Auntie Joyce.
She was my mums auntie and she was a huge part of my childhood. As I grew older and into my teenage years she became less of a grandmother figure and more of a friend. Despite her being 50+ years older than me, she was cool!
When I was a child she lived in Wales and we would write to each other every couple of weeks, I would share all my secrets with her telling her about my worries, I would send her tape recordings of me singing or of my latest flute music. When she moved back to the Midlands, I was in my late teens and I would go and spend weekends at her house that she used to share with her husband before he passed away.
She was there when I met G; giving me advice about boys and telling me stories about her dating life when she was younger.
She was on the other end of the phone when I was at university and then when I moved to Winchester for my first job after graduation. I moved back to Birmingham in my early twenties to be with G and around this time we found out she had a brain tumour – it was inoperable. It broke my heart. Yes, she might have been loads older than me but she had been my best friend and it was a terrible feeling for both of us when we realised she wouldn’t see me get married.
She passed away 9 months before we go married. I read a poem at her funeral that I had written and it took me a long time to get over her not being here anymore. I still miss her now 6 years on; I still think of things I would like to get her advice on and I know she would have adored Little Man. She taught me a lot of things.
- She taught me to have confidence in my decisions and trust my gut.
- She taught me to always have my nails painted.
- She taught me that love is the most important thing that you can find.
- She taught me that anything can be worked out with a cup of tea and a chat.
- She taught me to follow my heart.
- She taught me that it’s okay to struggle sometimes.
- She taught me to appreciate the people that mean the most.
- She taught me that you can instantly make an outfit look better with a pair of heels and a nice scarf.
- And she taught me that life was better with dancing.
It is coming up to the anniversary of Auntie Joyce’s death and I wanted to share her advice with the Internet. They seem such simple pieces of advice but believe me some of them weren’t always obvious to me at times.
She has done so much for me in my life and will always hold a special place in my heart. She never tried to be a mum to me or a grandma even though she was as good as both of those things. She was just a friend to me and I hope wherever she is, she is proud of me.
The most important thing she taught me was to never take for granted special people in your life, whoever they are because you never know how long you have with them. So if there is someone who is special like this in your life, go on, pick up the phone – tell them you love them.