Three years ago…

With every passing year, the memory of that day fades away… But somehow, still, there are things I can’t forget.

My cousin screaming SHE IS NOT BREATHING!! The smell, oh my God that smell. The smell of the body giving up, the smell of death… And that image, the image of what could have been my aunt. But she looked so different. I’m still amazed how different she looked a few days later at the funeral. Then she looked like herself, how I knew her.

Death is a natural part of life, we should be familiar with it, deal with it better.

But is it really? Cancer is not natural is it? The way it ruins your body and mind. Pumping your body with so many chemicals to kill it that they end up killing your internal organs is not natural is it? Feeling so exhausted and worrying you may not make it another day is not natural is it?

A couple of weeks before she died, I sent her flowers hoping to make her smile, and they did. That’s the last image I had of her alive, an image still painful to share. Living abroad when your family goes through something so horrible is immensely painful. And as tough as it is to think about it, you never know when it’ll be the last time you see them.

I’ve read somewhere that grief doesn’t really go away. It’s always there, you just learn to live with it. That’s why sometimes all those feelings come back as strong as they were that day. 

But this how we will always remember her.

I’m grateful my mum had such a great eldest sister and my cousins such a lovely mother figure. That’s what my mum said to me when I asked her earlier.

Η Μεγαλη μου Αδελφη. Σπανια Ψυχη. Ανθρωπος θυσιας και προσφορας σε ολους μας. Η γιαγια μου η Αννα, η Μαμμα μου και η Αδελφη μου η Αννα τις ειχα κ τις εχω προτυπο στη ζωη μου. Μπορει να πεθαναν αλλα για μενα ειναι ζωντανες στην καρδια μου κ στο μυαλο μου. Εζησα μαζι τους Ευλογημενες κ αξεχαστες στιγμες. 
Η αδελφη μου ηταν μαζι μου την ωρα που πονουσα οταν γεννουσα τα παιδια μου κ μου κρατουσε το χερι κ με στηριζε. Οταν πηγαιναμε σπιτι της ηταν πολυ φιλοξενη. Οτι ειχε μας κερνουσε.  Το τελος της ζωης της ηταν δυσκολο κ πονεμενο. Δεν μπορουσα να τη βλεπω να υποφερει…


(My eldest sister. A rare, pure soul. Always gave her heart for everyone else. My grandma Anna, my mum and my sister Anna have always been my role models in life. They may have died but for me they are alive in my mind and in my heart. I lived some unforgettable, blessed moments with them.

She (my sister) was with me, holding my hand when I was in pain, giving birth to my children. She was always so hospitable. 

The end of her life, tough and painful. I couldn’t watch her suffer so much…)

ola ta aderfia mazi

I’m grateful she brought to live and raised two of my favourite and dearest loved ones, Andrea and Georgia. My cousin, Georgia posted this beautiful poem of a famous modern poet. It’s as if she wrote it herself for her mum…

Να φωνάξω ξανά: Μάνα μου!

« Μάνα μου…κόρη μου» ήταν οι τελευταίες σου λέξεις σ’ εμένα,

όταν αισθάνθηκες ότι η ζωή σ’ εγκαταλείπει σιγά – σιγά.

Μέσα σ’ αυτές τις λέξεις φώλιασε όλη σου η αγάπη.

Δυο λέξεις – δυο ιδιότητες, εκ διαμέτρου αντίθετες κι όμως,

σε κάποιες στιγμές τόσο όμοιες, σαν τις όψεις του ίδιου νομίσματος.

Τις έχω κρατήσει μέσα μου, κερί αναμμένο στο μανουάλι της θύμησής σου,

μπροστά από τα εικονίσματα τόσων αναμνήσεων.

Ναός η ύπαρξή σου κι η καρδιά σου ένας διάφανος θόλος

που έβλεπε κατευθείαν στον Θεό.

Εκεί σε φαντάζομαι τώρα, ψηλά αλλά όχι απόμακρα.

Πανταχού παρούσα να παρακολουθείς τις πτώσεις και τις ανόδους μου,

τις θλίψεις και τις χαρές μου, τα λάθη και τις ευστοχίες μου.

Σε φαντάζομαι και σου μιλάω τις ώρες που τα πάντα σωπαίνουν.

Σε φωνάζω χωρίς στόμα, σε αγγίζω χωρίς χέρια, σε θρηνώ χωρίς λυγμούς.

Γιατί, μάνα μου, δεν είμαι πια η ίδια χωρίς εσένα.

Μεγάλωσα απότομα από τότε που σ’ έχασα.

Ξεριζώθηκα σαν το δέντρο που το θερίζει ο βοριάς.

Έμεινα άοπλος στρατιώτης στο πεδίο της μάχης,

που τον εγκατέλειψαν οι σύντροφοί του.

Ένας στρατιώτης σακατεμένος και κρυμμένος στα χαρακώματα

να περιμένει την επίθεση του εχθρού.

Τα διδάγματά σου, όμως, οι γαλουχίες σου, η αστείρευτη αγάπη

που με ανέθρεψε με ατσάλωσαν.

Μου έδωσαν τελικά θάρρος να συνεχίσω, να μην λιποψυχώ.

Να βγω έξω και να συνεχίσω να δίνω τις μάχες μου.

Έγινα εγώ η σοφή που συμβουλεύει, η αγκαλιά που παρηγορεί,

η αισιοδοξία που παροτρύνει, το άγρυπνο μάτι που περιφρουρεί.

Κι ας κρύβω μέσα μου το παιδί που ορφάνεψε.

Το παιδί που κλαίει, όταν χτυπάει στην αλάνα της ζωής

κι αποζητά το μητρικό χάδι και την ζεστή αγκαλιά.

Συνεχίζω να ζω κι ας μην έχω πια την ευλογία να φωνάξω:

«Mάνα μου» και να σε δω να εμφανίζεσαι στην πόρτα.

~Σαντίνα Δεναξά~

( To shout again: Mum! 

My daughter… your last words to me, when you felt that your life was slowly slipping away. You put your love into those few words.  

I kept those words inside me, as a candle lit in your memory. Your existence, a church and your heart a dome looking straight to God. That’s where I imagine you now. Up in the sky, but not far. 

Always here, watching my rise and fall, my happy and sad moments, my mistakes and my successes. I think of you and talk to you at the most silent moments. I talk to you with no mouth, I touch you with no arms, I grieve for you with no tears. 

Because, mum, I’m not the same without you. I grew up suddenly, the moment you died. I’m like an uprooted tree, battered in the wind. A soldier without their gun, in the battlefield, abandoned by their fellow soldiers. A wounded soldier, hidden, waiting for the enemy to attack.

But your nurture, your advice, your endless love, made me stronger. They gave me strength to keep going, to never give up. 

I was now the wise one to advise others, the one to console, the optimistic one, the watchful eye that protects. 

Although, inside, I’m still a child without a mother, a child who cries when she gets hurt and is looking for their mum’s embrace. 

I keep on living without the blessing of you showing up at the door when I shout ‘Mum’.)

theia Anna

I’m grateful my sister Stella had such a wonderful godmother. I loved the special bond they always had. I asked my sister for some words. I burst into tears when reading her reply. I’ve never heard of this before.

-Δηλαδη να γραψω που διαβαζαμε μαζι και εκαμε υπομονη ωσπου να μαθω την γ*****η την ιστορια; Και που με έπιανε κάθε φορά που ξεκινούσε η χρονιά να μου πει καλή αρχή και να διαβάζω? Και να προσεχω τον εαυτο μου γιατι αν δεν τον προσεχουμε δεν θα μας προσεχει.

Και όταν εγεννήθηκε η Ειρήνη είπε μου να προσέχω τη βαφτιστικιά μου και ειπα της πως όσο καλή νούνα είχα, τόσο καλή νούνα θα’μαι για την Ειρήνη.

Και όταν μιλούσαμε για τα φαγια της είπε μου να μου δείξει και είπα της πως όσες φορές και να μου δείξει δεν θα είναι ίδια με τα δικά της. Και λέει μου, γιατί; Και λέω της έχει ένα συστατικό που βάλει που δεν το έχει κανένας.  Και λέει μου μα τι;  Και είπα της η αγάπη που βάλει στο φαί της όταν το φτιάχνει.

(She used to sit with me and help me with my homework. She was so patient, especially when it came to f****ing history. She used to call me at the beginning of every single school year to wish me well and remind me to be a good student.

She used to say to me: Take care of yourself, because if you don’t take care of yourself, it won’t take care of you.

When Irini was born she told me to take care of my goddaughter and I told her I’ll be as good godmother as she’s been to me.

When we used to chat about her cooking, she offered to show me how to make some of her recipes and I told her, she can teach me as many times as she likes but it will never taste the same as her food. And she asked me, Why?

Because you add an ingredient that nobody else has. What’s that? She asked.

The love you put into your cooking…)

Stella mikri kai theia Anna

I’m grateful I had Anna as my aunt for 29 years, I’ll always cherish the memories of the big parties and relaxed summer evenings on her terrace, her delicious food, her love, her intelligence, her sweetness and kindness.

And although I’d rather she was still alive, I’m grateful of what I learned and how much I’ve changed because of her death. Appreciate the little things, love and care for myself, do what makes me happy. I’ve become a stronger, more resilient human.

Αιωνία σου η μνήμη θεία μου καλή μου.






A year without her…you are always in our hearts… Αιωνια σου η μνημη θεια μου καλη μου.

A year ago, on this day, 17th of October, 2015 my beloved aunt Anna died.

On Saturday morning, 17/10/15, having quit a job I hated the day before, I was on a plane to Cyprus knowing I was going there to say goodbye to my wonderful aunt Anna who went through hell for a year battling stage 4 cancer… but I was 10 minutes late…she died before I got there. I won’t go into detail again because it was not just one of but the hardest, most heartbreaking and life-changing moment of my life. And it still gets me…

But if you want to know more about this amazing soul, what happened that day, the funeral 2 days later (19th of October, 2015 a difficult, sad but humbling and beautiful, sunny day none of us will ever forget) and what happened after that I’ve posted a series of blogs a while ago… (

It’s worth posting again the school essay my little nephew, her grandson wrote about her a couple of months after her death..


For those who lost someone close to them who they loved dearly… this might sound familiar. I’ve lost other relatives before, but my aunt was the first person to lose that I was so close to…

The pain never really goes away. It gets easier to control as the time passes by, as we get on living our lives but it’s always there and sometimes hurts as much as it did on that day… I could only describe it as a healing wound that gets scratched every now and then and hurts again. It gets easier to live with but it’s always there.

And today it hurts as much as that day. I can’t even imagine how it feels for my cousin. If it was my mum I wouldn’t be able to cope with it that well. She is a real heroine. Γεωργία μου είσαι ηρωίδα μάνα και η θεία βλέπει σε που ψηλά και χαίρεται!

I used to listen to a lot of songs then but one especially, before her death and afterwards… a song narrating what Stephanie Rainey went through when she lost her nephew… The video is worth watching, it shows people who lost a loved one, holding up a placard, sharing how they felt, what they thought their loved ones would tell them if they were alive and what they would tell them if they could…

I can’t believe it’s already been a year. So much has happened in a  year… And although I went through a rough patch, I wouldn’t change anything.

I’ve had an amazing year and it all comes down to that day…

Although I knew, we all do, that life is short and can change in an instant, her death and knowing that such a loving, caring person spent most of her life only thinking of others until her very last breath, sacrificing her own happiness for others and rarely did what she really wanted, and suddenly diagnosed, suffered and died of cancer within a year, completely changed my mindset.

It’s been hard to accept she is really gone and for months I couldn’t handle my emotions, the pain was too much to deal with and with everything else happening in my life at the time, I felt lost and doubted my self, I overreacted, I went through all the grief stages over and over, but because of her I think I came out of it a better person…

Because of her I try new things even when I’m terrified…

Because of her I don’t stay upset or sad for too long…

And because of her I only do what I want and I don’t even try to pretend I enjoy things  I don’t…

And because of her, I learned to appreciate and make little things count. I was told recently ‘It doesn’t take much to make you laugh’. No, it really doesn’t. I make the most of every little thing and I laugh at silly things like ‘Limkokwing’ and get excited about a bacon roll or chocolate popping candy enhanced orange (magic!) because that’s what life is about. Enjoy the little things, appreciate these little beautiful moments.

Unless you are incredibly rich (although I don’t think rich people are happy all the time, it’s not all about money) you, as most of us, spend most of your time at work, with friends and family, and those moments are precious, this is our life and it’s more fun when you are having a good laugh!

I’m not stupid or naive or immature. If I don’t laugh, I’ll cry… not because I’m crazy but because thinking about my responsibilities, problems, things that need fixing, people I miss, things I want to do but I can’t right now, bad experiences I’ve been through, all the horrible things happening in the world and a million other things, it upsets me, it makes me sad. We all have coping mechanisms and mine is laughing it off.

I want to thank Sheba, I love you babe, I REALLY REALLY hope you get to fulfil your dreams very soon. Thank you for being there for me all this time through thick and thin… You’ve been there for me when I quit my job, broke up, lost my aunt, job-hunting, crying over people and things that were not worth it… And thank you for the incredibly amazing time we had and are having! #ninjasintraining.

To my family, I love you all and can’t wait to see you soon… Sending you hugs and all my love, especially today…

A big thank you to my SSU family, who they offered me a job, stability and security when I needed it the most, when everything else in my life was falling apart.

For everyone going through cancer treatment… A big big big hug… I know everyone copes with it differently, but seeing what my aunt went through, chemo, radiotherapy, immunotherapy, liver failure, depression, horrendous physical and emotional pain… however you are dealing it, you are a hero!

And finally a message for my aunt:

I’m so so sorry I was away for most of the time you were going through all the horrendous treatment and pain… and I’m sorry I was 10 minutes late… Had I known, I would have ran out of the plane, leave all my stuff behind and come straight to the hospital…

What I wouldn’t give to be able  to talk to you one last time… I’m sorry you didn’t get to meet your grandson, my godson! He is the sweetest, cleverest little boy, our little prince. We all love you and miss you a lot… especially on family gatherings…

I’ll never forget your unconditional love and kindness, how much you loved your farm, land and animals, your beautiful words, your incredible cooking, the big birthday parties and celebrations on your terrace underneath your vine rooftop, and your beautiful smile even when you were in pain…

Thank you for changing my life, without knowing… You will always have a home inside my soul….

Θεία μου συγνώμη που δεν ημούν εκεί όταν έκαμες τις θεραπείες και συγνώμη που άργησα 10 λεπτά. Μακάρι να μπορούσα να σε δω και να σου μιλήσω μια τελευταία φορά. Λυπάμαι που δεν γνώρισες τον εγγονό σου τον Στέφανο μας, το μικρό μας πρίγκηπα.

Θα θυμάμαι πάντα την αγάπη σου για τη γη, τα ζώα, τα υπέροχα φαγητά σου και τα τραπέζια στην αυλή σου κάτω που το αμπέλι σου, την απέραντη αγάπη σου για όλους μας, τη καλοσύνη, την ταπεινότητα, την αγνή ψυχή σου και το χαμόγελο σου ακόμα κι οταν πονούσες.

Σε ευχαριστώ που τα βάθη της ψυχής μου που μου άλλαξες τη ζωή χωρίς να το ξέρεις. Θα σ’αγαπούμε για πάντα.

Αιωνία σου η μνήμη θεία μου.