Over a year has passed… a year without my best friend, my grandmother, my confidant. It has been beyond hard. I have cried endless tears. Prayed for signs and truth be told, i have been lucky to have them; dreams of hearing her voice. But it doesn’t stop me missing her or the accompanying loneliness. Mix that with the responsibilities of being a parent and some days, I am simply broken. Add to that further, having a child with special needs that don’t understand their actions, their particularness to impulse control and sensory issues and the worst days can have me feeling even more alone. It all reminds me that I cannot simply go next door with a cup of coffee (for me) and a giant cup of tea (for her) and to simply talk. We used to talk about everything and my nan gave me strength. Sometimes, I feel like that since she has passed, she has taken my strength and happiness with her. Sometimes, I think how the hell do I move forward?
I try to give myself space, I try to be kind to myself. But sometimes, those tears flow and for that day, it is impossible to stop.
For my nan and my family, I put one foot in front of the other and spark that last bit of fight that I have. Because what is right, and good – I cannot stand the thought that people who could have caused so much pain for my nan could carry on in her name and cause more destruction in their paths.
My nan never wanted the proverbial noose of others’ greed around her neck. She used to tell me that she worked hard all of her life, never run up debts and tried her best to bring her children right. She used to cry that if it wasn’t for me, she would have been put in a home or worse. She used to say to me “I’m sorry for being a burden” she never was. I know, though she was embarrassed to be getting help for the basics of things, as I said to her, she helped raise me, and I will always look after her. She knew how much I love her, past and present tense – even at the worst of it, she would always nod when I asked her “do you know how much I love you?”.
I still get flashbacks of her last few weeks. How I had to bury every bit of emotion I had to ensure that she was looked after alongside the little ones, an older one who was still reeling from the death of their father and in a sense acting out, because their last time to see their father was cruelly taken by the actions of another.
I had the house, the dog, the kids, the nurses, my partner, his parents, we all tried to rally around. The dog would lay under her bed day in and day out. My mum kept her company through the day whilst I’d try and keep the other plates spinning.
I put a sofa bed on the other side of her bedroom wall, kept the doors open and would check on her several times, and call out nurses to make sure my nan was pain-free. She passed the early morning, I awoke as the laboured sound of her breathing ceased.
Walking into the bedroom, the bedcovers haven’t moved since she was last tucked in. A simple line of fluid rolled down her chin and her skin began to whiten as the blood stopped. “Oh, nan” was all I could say. I touched her hand and repeated, “do you know how much I love you?” I then called my mum.
My brave mum. A woman who struggles day in and day out herself was there within 5 mins and I left her with nan. Whilst I had to think of all the practicalities. This woman, my mum, has always been by my nan’s side through cancer the first time, the second time, the appointments and then her funeral. Pretty much, it was mum and me (and my little family) through the whole thing. My grandmother deserved more than how she was treated by other family members. She deserved more than she received in life – and I know things need wrapping up for her to have peace. ALL I can do is try to give that to her. Because I love her.
Her ashes take pride of place in my living room. With a sweetpea candle burning by it, a bonsai tree beside her, and a glass of never-dying flowers. I talk to her every day, wishing that she could answer me, or just to sit with me and watch Homes Under the Hammer.
I refused to let her ashes be split up like my grandfathers’, I kept her whole and undisturbed. I reached out through my anger and offered an olive branch by inviting all to her funeral service (she was cremated the day before and followed the request of a peaceful sendoff) yet no one but my mum, my family bothered to reply and attend. Byron (my oldest boy, then 4) sang “I’ll be your sweetheart” as the priest blessed her. At least the only people who ever loved and cared for her surrounded us. But people who still pretend to love her never uttered a sound except for the question of “what am I going to get” as my nan said before – she did not raise them like that.
All I can do is allow my heart to journey with this grief. Feel it until the tears cannot come anymore. Light some candles and pray that everyone i have lost, finds peace and unending, enduring love. In this house, we remember. I try not to let the anger eat me up too. Anger at those that should have cared about my nan, not simply what they could take from her.
This all can hit from the most innocent of things and it can crash into me. The grief is like a black horse that sits on my shoulder and kicks me with the pain of grief. Bites with the blackest rage at my heart. But for my family, I have to be stronger.
One day, they will have to answer for all that they have done. And I am sure there is a few awaiting to see them again because my nan is not the first and won’t be the last of the people that have been damaged through those people.
One day, I will be reunited with her and the others that I have loved and lost. We all have to face our maker, stripped away and the truth of your soul laid out. I have nothing to hide. I have never been perfect and I accept my flaws. But my heart is broken and I wonder, will it forever be so?
Thank you for reading. I know this is a charged piece but today, i needed to explain.
Love and light ❤