Today I’m writing from a deck chair in my back garden. The sun is bursting the sky. O is out with his friends and the baby is fast asleep. You would be forgiven for thinking that right about now life sounds good.
Sadly that is not the case. For the past two weeks my heart has been heavy. Sad. Broken. Yet strangely calm.
I have put off writing this post for days now in fear that I wouldn’t find the words to say what I truly feel. Yet, I also cannot let this time past unnoticed. Unrecognised. So here it is.
On Monday May 16th, whilst sat in London at a conference with work I received a message from my mother that shattered my life as I know it. My darling Nanna who has been sick in hospital since Christmas wasn’t expected to last the night.
My gasp at seeing this news combined with my instantaneously welling eyes, alerted my boss that something was wrong. I showed the message to him and was immediately bundled out of the room and sent home. Once outside and away from the curious eyes of the other participants I broke into uncontrolled sobs.
I had to see her. I had to say goodbye. To tell her “I love you”.
The train ride home, looking back now was a bit of a blur. I just recall checking my phone a million times dreading another message saying she had gone. That I was too late. She would never know!!
Thankfully that message never came.
Nothing ever prepares one to say goodbye; no pain felt before, no matter how hard you think you’ve had it previously, no matter how old or experienced. It’s horrible. Truly, madly stomach turning horrible.
She looked so tiny, so frail. Half the magnificent woman I knew her to be. Gaunt and still. Try as she might to talk to us her body just wouldn’t comply. And her words were silent.
I mustered everything inside of me to fight back the tears from forming but they were rebellious in their escape. My efforts were wasted. We sat. All of us. Aunties, uncles, cousins, grandchildren and mum, trying to be calm, to not scare her. No idea between us if she knew what was ahead. If she had any level of comprehension of the hand she had been dealt. That soon she and my granddad would be reunited in eternal peace.
The feeling was somber but I don’t think I would be wrong to say that it was somewhat conflicted. We we watching her suffer more and more every day, and had been for such a long time. Her mind active but body weak. Her frustration growing daily at her inability to jump outa bed and just get on with life. Her pain and suffering literally shrinking her before our very eyes. No one wanted her to go, but we also knew that she didn’t want this. Such a lively woman, sharp, whitty, independent, proud. She was also (god awful) stubborn and always right (even when so wrong)! But that was who she was and we loved her despite it. Now here she was almost lifeless before us. We hoped for her that the suffering would end soon. But feeling like that is so hard when you selfishly don’t want them to go.
In her typical way, she had other ideas. She clung on for 6 more agonising days, finally passing peacefully in her sleep on Saturday May 21st.
I had been to see her that morning. I sat holding her hand and watched as she slept. When it was time to go, as I had done each time I had left her side the days before, I couldn’t bring myself to say goodbye. Not knowing if it would be the last time. So as I gave her a soft but lingering kiss on the forehead I said “Goodnight, God bless. I love you” and each time without fail the tears would form as I glanced behind me before my exit.
I hadn’t been home long when the call came. I saw “mum” appear on my phone and I knew. I sat to answer. She was gone. I literally broke. Right there and then the flood gates opened. Even now writing this my eyes are streaming recalling that moment.
So now I sit today in my garden two weeks on, waiting to visit her in the chapel of rest before she is laid to ground on Thursday.
The time has passed so slowly since. In an odd way life moves on. Things seem normal and then there are moments when it hits me all over again. She’s gone. Never again will she share stories of me as a toddler waving around her priceless Royal Albert dinner service. Or the time I got my granddad drunk on 2 hot toddies. Never again will I jump from sitting on her finger whilst she rolls around in hysterics laughing- (that one never got old for her)!
There were so, so many great times we shared, and too many tears along the way. But regardless of the situation she was, and always will be a formidable woman. A force to be reckoned with. A trait that I hope to have inherited from her.
But now she sleeps.
To my Nanna always and forever my inspiration, I will love you with every breath in me.
Rest in peace my darling X