So, it’s been a while. I don’t know if you’d noticed? I sort of had, I sort of hadn’t. You see, I’ve been… well, I’ve been sad.
A couple of months ago, my Grandmother took ill quite suddenly, and soon thereafter passed away. She wasn’t that old (81 years young, to be precise, but don’t tell her I told you that) and her illness came on with no real warning.
There are not enough words in all the languages in the entire universe to express how much I loved this woman. She was my grandmother, my friend, my supporter, my confidante – the list goes on. Whilst she’s always played a major role in my life, when my grandfather passsed away a few years back, we began to spend a lot of time together. She only lives a few minutes up the road and seeing as I’m at home with the kids, I visited her often. We shopped, we ate donuts with the kids, we went on adventures.
And then she was gone.
At the time, I had been grateful that she didn’t suffer. I was happy that she and Grandpa were together again. I applied myself to the Things That Needed To Be Done, and I did them. I knew she wouldn’t want me to be sad. She was a practical woman, and she believed in Getting On With It – so I did just that. But something has been off. I’ve been crabby. Incredibly negative. Snappy, even. I walked away from the blog, my novel, my creative pursuits and my work. Everything. I walked away from it all, because there were Things That Needed To Be Done, and I needed to do them. Just don’t ask me what they were, because I can’t seem to remember.
When she was sick in the hospital and I took the kids to visit, there was a scene like this: Grandma lying bed, and Orion sitting beside her, holding her hand.
“Grandma, the doctors are going to make you better,” Orion said.
“They will try,” she answered.
“What if they can’t make you better?” he asked, his little brow furrowed. She squeezed his hand and smiled.
“Then we will go to the window, and you can pick a star, and Grandma will watch over you from there,” she told him. Then she looked at me and as our eyes met, we both burst into tears.
I will never forget that moment, nor the moments it has sparked thereafter. Orion, telling me she had shrunk because she had to be very little to fit inside a star. Orion, asking me to leave the curtain open so that she could see he was wearing a jumper she had bought for him. Orion, saying there must be lots of dead people, because there are so many stars, and which one was Grandma’s? I let him choose. For all of those moments, I could only hold him and try my best to make him understand a thing I don’t even comprehend myself.
The other day, I woke up and realised I had lost my smile. All of the bubbles that make up my personality? Popped, each and every one. What had happened? Where had it all gone wrong? I am an optimistic, rose-coloured glasses kinda gal. Usually, anyway. So I sat down, and I thought, and I wondered, and I waited, and then I realised the truth of it.
I was sad.
I miss her.
I miss her incredibly, totally, enormously.
I had eschewed normal life, because my version of normal has her in it, and now it will never be the same. I was so busy trying to Get On With It that I’d not stopped to deal with it. But now was the time for it to deal with me. So I cried. And I cried, and I cried, and I cried. And maybe I cried a little more. I think a part of me will be shedding tears forever – or at least until we meet again – but I realised at last that this is okay. This is a thing that needs to happen, in order for me to rediscover myself and rebuild, as best I can, the new me.
Which, in the end, is part of Getting On With It.
So on the other side, I have found a wobbly little thing that might almost be a bit like a smile. I have begun to force myself to rediscover my joy. I hugged my husband and I laughed with the kids. I sat down in front of my novel and I even wrote some. I am sitting here in front of my keyboard and I am slowly, slowly wading back into my life. It’s time. There are Things To Be Done, proper things. And I know she’s not really gone, only watching us all from somewhere else.
And I intend to make her proud.