April of 2011 I was introduced to someone very special to Stephen..
His Granny Peggy.
I walked into the living room and there she sat,
in all of her glory,
flinging a stuffed animal dog on a leash around
(a gift from Stephen)
and pretending it was a real dog named Fido.
She laughed and carried on with the spunk and fire of a young person,
still very much "with it" in mind,
but frail and slow moving in her aging body.
We never stopped laughing around Granny Peggy.
She loved to make fun of "the Yanks" around me,
and would always ask Stephen how "wee Megan" was doing.
One day she sat me down and told me her story,
how she was one of 14,
met her husband (now deceased) while she was a nurse and he was a patient,
had 8 children,
and fought off death more times than anyone else I know.
She also told me I better never take her boy away to America,
because Stephen and his two brothers,
well, they were her boys.
The absolute apple of her eye,
and they all loved each other with the deepest kind of love I have ever seen between a grandparent and grandchild.
A couple weeks ago Stephen and I were visiting his hometown in Northern Ireland,
and like we always do when we go home,
we went to visit Granny Peggy.
She had been more tired than usual,
and feeling unwell.
When we got to her home she was upstairs in bed.
We went upstairs and she perked right up at the sound of Stephens voice.
"Come on and lie in bed with me wee Megan," she said.
So I crawled in next to her,
and Stephen sat beside her,
and we talked about life and death.
Stephen spoke of our wedding,
and like she usually did when anyone talked about something happening in the future she replied,
"Oh Stephen, I won't be there, i'll be kicken up the daisies."
Stephen dismissed her comment and told her she would be there,
and for the first time,
very seriously she looked at him and said,
"We can't all live forever son."
When we left her room that day,
I knew it would be the last time we saw her as her.
I thanked God for giving us that final moment,
for giving Stephen that final moment.
Last wednesday night we got a phone call saying Granny Peggy had been blue lighted to the hospital.
She had fallen and they found that the aneurism in her stomach was leaking.
operating was not an option,
and we were told it would be a matter of hours.
We booked the next ferry to Northern Ireland,
and at 2am packed our bags, and 4am left to get the boat.
We arrived, without sleep, to Ireland,
and headed straight to the hospital.
She had somehow made it through the night,
and a few hours turned into a few days...
My heart broke into a million pieces for Stephen and his family.
It was clear this woman was something special the day I met her,
but it became even more clear this past week, just how much of an impact she had on her family.
Most members did not leave her bedside for days on end.
Stephen and I spent a total of almost 24 hours at the hospital over a three day period,
and we all were there around her when she left this earth on Saturday night.
There was one specific reason Stephen and I wanted to get married in his hometown,
and that was so that Granny Peggy could be there.
Stephen turned to me at one point and asked, his eyes full of tears, if I would mind putting my wedding bouquet on her grave.
I told him I couldn't imagine doing anything else with it but give it to Granny Peggy,
and how happy I am that we are getting married in his home church,
the same church where Granny Peggy sang in the choir and slipped Stephen sweets from under her seat,
and the same church where hundreds of people came to say their goodbyes.
I have Granny Peggy to thank for helping bring up such an amazing man...
her blue eyed boy.
I whispered in her ear in the hospital and promised her I would take care of him,
and I know on our day she will be there as I pledge that promise again before God and our friends and family.
Rest In Peace Wee Granny Peggy.