November the month for remembering

November has started and already the nights have drawn in and the temperature has dropped to single figures, Christmas adverts are on TV and Ellie is on her 20th draft of her christmas list, oh dear looks expensive!

But November for me is all about remembrance, remember remember the 5th of November, remember those that fought for our country on the 11th and this year, November 26th, will be the first anniversary of my grandmother, Elizabeth “Joan” Dawber death.

I can honestly say that not a day goes by when I don’t think about my Gran and the profound effect she had on my life, she was my role model, my inspiration and my hero. My gran was a registered nurse, midwife, health visitor and district nurse, quite a collection. My gran took part in the trials of the BCG vaccinations and stacked babies in linen cupboards during the blitz to protect them from falling bombs.

My favourite memories include going for long walks around Rivington, listening to the stories from the war and nurse training, blackberry picking and child hood trips to Devon to visit my Uncle Ronald’s Farm. I have my love of family, the out doors, history and nursing because of my grandma. I love you and I miss you gran.

But I suppose I am lucky, I had almost 42 years of my gran, she lived to the ripe old age of 94, everyday we see on the news young men / women needlessly killed or dying too young defending our country, today on Remembrance Sunday we are reminded of all the fallen soldiers and those left behind. I am blessed and humbled by others.

So when the 26th of November comes round I am not going to be sad, I am going to be thankful and celebrate the 42 years we had together. I am also going to focus on the living and the future and making things better for those that I can influence and make a difference for. From this year on I will no longer be making new year resolutions but grandma resolutions, these are mine:

  • Pip, I love you and I know I can be a pain, untidy, demanding etc, I promise to be by your side forever and to start picking up my PJ’s from the bathroom floor and un balling my socks!
  • Ellie, I love you too, you are my only daughter and I can’t put into words how you make me feel, especially when you run up a £200 iTunes bill or a £70 xbox bill! I promise I will look out for you and love you and support you no matter what choices you may make
  • Dad we are very similar, we both miss Gran, I promise to be more tolerant, but you do try the patience of a saint sometimes 🙂
  • Finally, to every person who comes into my care or sphere of influence, I want to be able, in years to come, that everyone receives the standards of care I would expect for my Gran – the 5’Es – from essential to excellent, or in grans days from the linen cupboard to improving the public health of future generations.

So please join me in remembering but also to looking forward and making a difference, life is too short to have regrets, if you love, admire, are proud of someone, tell them it’s far better to share the moments in the here and now than anecdotally when it’s too late.

Get hold of every day with a new beginning and a sense that we can make positive changes and do our very best. I don’t want to be remembering the NHS in future years I want to be living it, breathing it, working in it and eventually being cared for in it.

RIP Elizabeth Joan Dawber, you are loved and missed by family and friends and will never be forgotten.




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Executive Director at warrington and Halton NHS FT. Proud and passionate nurse and NHS leader

3 thoughts on “November the month for remembering”

  1. Thanks for the blog.
    Just got home from watching Megan and Rhys my 2 children playing their part with 450 other kids in a Second World War production at Preston Guild ‘Forget me Not’. My mum 86years of age was happily singing her heart out and recalling great memories one in particular that resonated was the evacuation and how her family took in 2 young boys age 7 and 9 yrs, their sister being cared for by a different family. Having my own 2 children I could not imagine how it must have felt kissing your kids goodbye for an unknown period if time or forever.
    Tonight’s show was a real eye opener.
    ‘Think of those who gave up their today for your tomorrow’.

  2. you tell a wonderful vivid story from your memores karen. i remember you telling the hca’s how influencial your gran was. im sure she is exceptionally proud of the product of that influence.

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