This week I had the pleasure of accompanying one of our grandparents to her retirement celebrations, at Penny Brohn Cancer Care Centre.

She is retiring after over 30 years of nursing at the centre.

It became very clear within a few minutes of arriving what a difference this lady has made to so many people, to her colleagues and to the thousands of people who have passed through her caring hands over the years.

One colleague who couldn’t stay but just wanted to see her before he left, said that she had brought light into everyones lives.

It was as you can imagine a highly charged and emotional evening for all of those who were there.

The tributes just kept coming and a poem had also been written for her, it absolutely encapsulated the person I have got to know over the last 9 years. Her tenderness, her compassion and her empathy.

There was also a huge sadness that her own family were not there to witness the event and to hear how loved she is and how her compassion has helped so many.

She is a lady who doesn’t like to hear praise being bestowed on her, and there were many tears shed.

I know her heart was heavy, thinking how she wanted to desperately share  her life with her family members, who have chosen to be estranged from her.

This lady has been there for people who are facing such a difficult time, facing how to live with cancer, and yet her own family have turned away from her.

Like many other families, grandchildren are growing up with no knowledge of what a difference their grandparents have made and continue to make to others. Part of their family history and identity going unnoticed and lost.

When these grandchildren are asked,”What did your grandparents do?” Their answer will be, “I don’t know.”

I for one am so proud of her, and I and many, many others acknowledge her and value her friendship, her professionalism and her deep belief in her work.

From everyone she has been there for, thank you.

Somehow, I suspect she will be returning to the centre, in a voluntary capacity, they won’t let her go.