I thought long and hard about whether or not I was going to write this blog post because it’s not exactly the happiest of topics. However, I decided that it was really important to me and I hope that someone, somewhere takes something from this. My gran passed away 7 years ago today. Even typing that sentence I can’t believe that it has been so long. I wanted to share my story because I loved my gran and thought it would be nice to include her in my blog in some small way. (read on, you will understand that more soon)
My gran (or Betty as she was known to others) was a character to say the least. You heard her before you seen her, she spoke to everyone and she loved going to the bingo with her group of friends. She wasn’t the best cook (she always made lumpy custard) and pushed my poor, patient grandfather (he passed away 6 months before her) to the end of his tether! He did love her and she had many lovable qualities. (I have a lump in my throat now, but I’m going to keep going…)
She always believed in me – always. When I was 5 years ago running around in a tutu on stage at my end of year dance class show or graduating from university, she was right there cheering me on. Life wasn’t always easy and there were many, many times that I didn’t believe in myself, didn’t think that I was good enough and she was the one who picked me up. That’s what I really miss. I miss her hugs. I miss sitting with her going through the latest Lush box that I had purchased and letting her sniff everything. (you see now why she would have liked my blog, haha).
I remember the day she got taken to hospital. I won’t bore you with all the details but it was minor and she was making such leaps and bounds in her recovery; she was almost ready to come home. She was so close to coming home. (OK, the tears are flowing now). I remember visiting her and chatting away, eating grapes just chatting about life. How the hell did a week pass and I’m sitting in an uncomfortable brown chair in a poorly lit room with my mum being told by a doctor that there is nothing more they can do and she is going to die? How does that happen?
She had caught an infection and her organs were failing. And the crazy thing is, she was still alert and could still speak to me as she had always done (naturally not in the same upbeat way, she was suffering). She never told me she knew this was the end, but the look in her eyes told me she knew. I cried quietly so many times and other family members stood infront of me so she couldn’t see me cry. I went from crying to being composed in an instant. My emotions were all over the place.
The end was coming soon and we all knew that. I wasn’t there for her final moments (that was something my mum, her daughter, shared with her) but I remember our final conversation. It was 4am (she passed away about 9am the same morning) and I was alone with her. She opened her eyes as I held her hand and we just looked at each other. My gran wasn’t the best with words but that look told us both everything we needed to know. I know she loved me and she knows I loved her.
“Take good care of yourself”. That was the final thing she said to me. As I mentioned my mum was there when she took her last breath. The last thing she said to her daughter was “I’m sorry I have to go.”
I feel like I need to apologise for this blog entry being so sad, but this is real life and we all go through these things. I won’t go on much more, promise! I did go and see my gran in her coffin which may not be for everyone, but it really helped me. I put a letter beside her and in her hands, I put a fake Oscar that said “Best Grandmother” that my sister and I had brought her back from Orlando. I did the same thing with my grandfather. I know they knew they were loved and I find a lot of comfort in that. I spoke at both of their funerals with no notes and just straight from the heart. I am proud of that.
7 years have passed and my life has changed a lot since then. I have spent another 4 years at university getting another degree, I have started my own business and gone through a transplant.. And I thank my gran that I have achieved all of these things and coped with difficult times. Every time that I fell off my bike as a child, she picked me up and she still does that to this day. That makes me smile.
Dealing with the loss of a loved one is a difficult thing and nothing I can write in this post makes it any easier. I still cry when I relive her final moments in my mind. But things have gotten easier and time really does help. It’s exactly like the saying “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.’ She was MY gran, MY friend and I have so many wonderful memories of our times together. She was always there in my corner, cheering me on and I believe she is still doing exactly that.
Please feel free to leave a comment below or, as always, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tweet me @thingsarahloves