I don’t really know what I want to achieve from this post but I guess I kind of just want to voice my thoughts and what more of a therapeutic outlet than my own blog? A lot of you wanted more personal posts on here so I guess this one’s pretty personal.
Let’s start by going back three years – my Grandad had passed away and I wasn’t close to my Grandma Betty at all. To be honest, as I’ve grown up I had fraught times with my Grandma and most of the time my Grandad had to bare the brunt of it. I’d go months without seeing them because I was so stubborn to say how I felt or apologise. I know this upset my Grandad and my Dad often told me it upset him too.
What I will say about Betty is that she was a strong woman, she brought up 5 boys and ran the house and still held down a job whilst my Grandad worked in the Police. She’d never had a girl and as her eldest Grandaughter (and the only one in the UK), I was often misunderstood which caused friction between us. Or maybe it was that she didn’t really know how to deal with me, especially as I got older.
My Grandad had been poorly for quite some time and as he got worse, I couldn’t bare it. I distanced myself completely from the situation and I refused to go see him. I couldn’t face seeing my lovely Grandad deteriorating in front of me. It wasn’t until a few days before he passed away that I got the kick up the backside that I needed. He was asking for me and I couldn’t say no, I just had to bite the bullet and say goodbye. I was apprehensive about going, mainly because I knew my Grandma and my Dad were disappointed in me and I didn’t want the conflict. My worries soon went as I sat holding my Grandad’s hand, him telling me how much he loved me and me crying that I felt Betty stroking my hair and I knew it was going to be okay.
I swore to myself that I’d look after her and I’d let bygones be bygones. It was crazy how quickly our relationship changed, I even looked forward to visiting her each week. She’d tell me all sorts of stories and soon she became my confidant. I’d tell her things I’d never tell my Mum and it was easy, she never judged me even though we were from two completely different eras. She’d give me amazing advice and I knew she realised I was far more screwed up than I’d ever let on. She even let me borrow the money for my blogging camera because she wanted me to better myself. She even knew what Twitter was!
I knew her health was deteriorating, she had an enlarged heart and her arthritis was worsening but I kind of kept it to the back of my mind. I went away in November to Australia and I made her promise not to die whilst I was away. To say I had anxiety over such a long trip was an understatement, I couldn’t get excited for the longest time. She promised me she wouldn’t, gave me some ice cream money and said she’d see me when I got back. I got back and phoned her, she sounded awful but she wanted to know all about my holiday so I told her I’d tell her all about it the following week when she was feeling better. Except I never did because she had a huge stroke two days before my birthday and she lost her ability to speak. She was pretty out of it for the 5 weeks leading up to her passing away but I made sure I visited her as much as I could and just talked to her, stroked her hair as she did mine and I told her how much she meant to me and how happy I was that we got a second chance.
I’m literally sobbing as I type this, because I struggle every day knowing that my best friend has gone. I knew it would happen eventually but it was such a shock and I feel robbed. Then I feel awful because I let my Grandad down in a way. I guess I was younger then and I didn’t feel like I could step up and do the right thing.
What’s really kept me going is my friends, honestly without them I’d be completely lost. Meeting up for dinner or having a night out has really helped keep me distracted. I’m definitely feeling the love at the moment.
Distraction is so important, I know it sounds silly but it’s so healthy to just find something that makes you laugh or look forward to.
I’m contemplating having some counselling too, I’ve been teetering with the idea for months, even before my Grandma got sick. I guess sometimes you need to speak to someone about your feelings and try break that negative cycle.
The only other way you heal is through time, lots of it. I know I’m not going to feel better overnight but I know in time I’ll feel better, after all knowing that Betty and Mark are together again is the best healer.
Now, I’m 99.9% sure this post makes absolutely no sense but sometimes you just need that cathartic moment.
What are your experiences dealing with loss/grief?