It’s been a while since I’ve blogged here, mostly due to my condition which has left me with very little energy and time to do anything much. More on that later.

But today, today I couldn’t let the day pass by without posting this. Today would have been the 75th birthday of a very, very special woman who entered my life rather late (I was 31 when I met her) but who firmly became one of my most ardent supporters, always there, with a quiet presence, but a rock solid one, firm in her convictions, but without judgement, willing to do whatever it took to be the very best person she could be.


I don’t know what the cliched relationship with a mother-in-law is like because I have never, ever experienced it. From the very beginning, my mother-in-law, Josephine, welcomed me into the fold, even though that in itself was a challenge and a half. For here I was, her son’s girlfriend, the girlfriend of her son who till a few months before was a Jesuit priest. I may have had nothing to do with his change of life status (that’s his story to tell not mine), but I was still a new variable, in a very unusual turn of events. But her grace and humility shone through straight away and would continue to do so through the years.

With time, she became a confidante of mine, someone I could talk to comfortably and without fear, someone I could argue safely with, someone who I knew valued who I was, what I stood for. As the years rolled on, we began to spend more and more time together. I actually enjoyed her presence immensely, she was a calming soul, a joyful person (except when she complained about daylight saving hours!), and someone who always had a kind word to say about everyone – or else, she simply didn’t say it. She was someone I learnt a lot from, someone I hope to emulate more as I grow, hopefully, more mature.

Jo & Sebastian
Nanna Jo and Sebastian – partners in crime

Most importantly, in the later years she became my son’s faithful companion. She was there in the very beginning, literally, from the first day we brought my son home from the orphanage and shocked her when we went to pick her up. Oh how important her quiet, unassuming, never-ending presence was in those days as both my husband and I were struck down with a feverish flu while having to suddenly, from one day to the other, care for a new infant. And her support continued unstinting as the days, weeks, months and years rolled on. All her friends have told us that she would constantly talk about our son to them, and this does not surprise us in the least. He in turn would talk about her all the time, too. She was, it must be told, his most treasured companion. Whether they were watching buses rolling by, or pretending they themselves were on a bus, or whether she was Princess Anna to his Princess Elsa (yes, another Frozen fan!) – he had the time of his life with his Nanna Jo.

I knew how important she was to me, to my husband, to my son while she was still with us. But somehow, her death has only made her importance grow – her presence is stronger than ever through her very absence. The amount of times I think of calling her to tell her something, to invite her over to lunch or dinner, or to plan our traditional Good Friday meal with her…

So today, on what would have been her birthday, I once again thank our beloved Nanna Jo for all she did with us and all she taught us. We miss you more than ever. Safe journeys Nanna Jo, may we meet again.

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