Hope you are all doing well? As you can probably tell, the blog is a bit more serious and personal to me. It’s a whole blog dedicated to my hero, the legend known as Richard (Dick) Devenney. My Granddad.
Where to begin?
It’s his birthday today, Happy birthday granddad! 25 days from now it’ll be a year since he passed.
But who’s counting right?
A whole year.. a lot can happen in a year! I mean a woman can go through pregnancy in that time!
Grandad had a lot of physical battles in his time, but to look at the smile on his face you wouldn’t be able to tell! He had such a positive outlook on life that was both inspiring and infectious, and since he passed I have never met anyone like him, and I don’t think I ever will. To say he was one of a kind is an understatement. He was a unique case to doctors and even more of a unique man to family and friends. Asking anyone for three descriptive words it would be along the lines of Happy, Storyteller and a fighter.
A fighter wasn’t he just! We shouldn’t have got as much time as we did with him, but we all know that. It makes us even more grateful for his stubbornness to prove the nurses and doctors wrong. I remember one time we were sitting watching TV, I asked him why he always looked so happy even when he was ill, his reply? “I have family and friends, love and laughter what more could I ask for? There is always someone worse off Claire, who are we to complain?” I will never forget how much my outlook on the world changed and for that I am truly grateful. Wise words from a wise man.
Ok so about my granddad, ever heard of Muscular Dystrophy? That’s what my granddad had, there is a link to a more detailed description above. In short it’s a muscle wasting disease. There are lots of different types of MD (Muscular Dystrophy) but my granddad had the one called limb and girdle. This is where the muscles waste away in the arms and legs and sometimes causing breathing problems. It caused him to be in a wheelchair which in turn became a mechanism to racing us round the block. I would never call him a cheat, but a few times he would come round the corner on two wheels after promising to go the standard speed… Just saying!
My Grandad met the love of his life quite young. After they met his MD started developing and getting worse, out of love he told her to go and find someone who could give her a better life. But it was too late she had already fell in love. Thankfully she stuck with him and cared for him most of their lives. That was until he got sick.
Granddad got admitted to hospital and it wasn’t looking good. We were told to say our goodbyes and of course it was a very difficult time for us all. After a while the doctors realised that he was a fighter and would fight all the odds stacked against him. He came home with a care plan in place with 24hr carers. Dealing with my anxiety over this time was a very hard battle, the thought of more people being around who I didn’t know truly scared me. It wouldn’t just be me Nanna and Granddad at sleepovers anymore. Obviously I knew they were there to help but all I could think off was myself and the unknown.
Going in to the house the first time was such a strange set up. My granddads memory wasn’t what it used to be, you could end up having the same conversation over and over again in the space of 5 minutes. The first thing he says to me?…
I was gutted! he forgot who I was, but remembered everyone else! Everyone else sort of stood there in shock trying to remind him who I was. All of a sudden he couldn’t hide his smirk anymore, he shouted JOKING! His sense of humour was still there apparently!
Dealing with my anxiety around granddad never seemed to be a problem. I was myself and I never felt worried to ask him something because he was always willing to give an answer. But most importantly if I asked him something I felt anxious about, he would always forget it, so thank you memory loss!
After a while of going through a lot of carers we started to get a real good team! I felt as comfortable around most of them as I possibly could. All the little things I was worried about losing like: tickling granddads feet to wake him up, having us time, not being able to go anywhere, had turned into the carers encouraging it. They fitted so perfectly into our family that sometimes we forgot they weren’t a Devenney. Getting up after staying over you could hear them in my granddads bedroom singing and cracking jokes while getting him ready for the day. It was the best feeling knowing that I got to have breakfast with Nanna and when granddad was up I got to spend time with him. I was so wrong about the carers and I want to take this time to appreciate everything they did, not just for granddad but for Nanna and the rest of the family too. You were amazing not just until the end but even still now. Still our friends, Still our family all thanks too the legend Dick Devenney.
Asking Kristian one of the carers for a comment on granddad I was blown away by what I got back.
“Working with Dick Devenney doesn’t feel the right thing to say when talking about this man. The truth is I never did a days work from the moment that I met him and Jean. My alarm would go off in the morning and I would jump out of bed looking forward to the day ahead. Not many people get to feel like that. As a support care worker you are supposed to remain professional at all times, your client is just that – a client and there is a boundary that should not be crossed. Well whoever came up with that nonsense has never met Dick and his family. The stories of Donegal, digging up the turf and the mischief he would get up to kept us all entertained and were always delivered with a glint in the eye and a cheeky all knowing smile. I particularly loved hearing about the first time he saw his Jean’s wee bum and Jean thought all her dreams had come true because he could afford a bag of chips the day before pay day.
Dick had an impact on everyone that he met and I talk about him often. I only hope one day that people will talk about me half as fondly as they do the cheeky wee bugger from Donegal.”
Anyone who was lucky enough to know him always hope to be at least half the man he was. Words cant describe how much you are missed granddad but I hope this puts some perspective on the emotions flying around today.
Laura (my sister) is dong a half marathon in his memory, the link is below if anyone would like to sponsor her. All proceeds go to Muscular Dystrophy UK.
I have so much to tell you granddad and I know your looking down with the cheeky grin ready to listen.
I passed my driving test Grandad! 3rd time lucky, I’m sorry we didn’t get the chance to talk about what car I had or what size engine it was.
I drank a lot when you passed, I wasn’t ready to deal with my feelings of losing someone who understood me. But I’m cutting down I promise.
I have decided to pack up my job that you said I was too good for and go travelling the world. Sorry your not here to skype me when I’m away, but I promise I’ll skype Nanna lots.
Happy Birthday Grandad, Gone But never forgotten.
I love and miss you… Everyday.