My Grandma is gone.
She died this week.
It was quite unexpected.
Christmas time is probably the worst time of year to lose someone. This should be the time we are gathering together to celebrate. Instead, we are planning a funeral.
I’ve offered to say something on the day. I was very close to my Grandma and I want the world to be reminded of just how wonderful she was. I’ve got so many warm memories to share. There are so many happy times to reflect on.
But will I be able to do it on the day? I want it to be fitting tribute. What if I break down into a sobbing mess? What if all of this gets the better of me? What if I’m not strong enough?
My heart is breaking already. Every spare moment, my thoughts turn to her. I am physically tired; drained from the emotion of it all. I feel a constant gloom over the day, even when my conscious thoughts are not on her. My brain is constantly searching itself for memories of her. Memories are all I have now, and I mustn’t let them fade.
She was a quiet lady – a listener. She would always have a listening ear. She had time – time for everybody. All my life, I remember her being slow and measured. She wasn’t dashing from one place to another or worrying about what was on the horizon. She had the ability to just “be”.
She lived with us for a year when I was about 17, and she listened with such love and attentiveness to my teenage dramas.
Grandma was a fantastic singer; a Soprano like me. She also liked to knit. She was always knitting something, and she taught me to knit too. She loved going to Church and studying her bible. She adored her cats, and grew vegetables in her tiny garden.
For the last 12 months, she has been in a home. She had dementia.
It has become routine for my 2 year old and I to visit her every Wednesday morning. I don’t think she knew I was her granddaughter but she recognised me. When she saw my daughter and I, her face would light up. That was enough for me. I didn’t mind that I was just a friendly visitor rather than family; she was happy I was there and that made me happy.
What will I do on a Wednesday morning now? There will be a gaping hole in the middle of my week. Yes I’m sure there will be plenty of things to fill it with, but will those things fill the gaping hole that is in my heart? No.
What shall I do with the Christmas present I bought her?
I haven’t told any of my friends yet. Somehow it doesn’t feel right to broadcast it, especially at this time of year. Everyone is wishing me a Happy Christmas, and I am just going through the motions of saying it back. I want them to have a lovely Christmas, and that’s why I haven’t been able to tell them my news. This year will be a very different sort of Christmas for me.
It feels too abrupt to just blurt it out.
What will I say when I’m back in the school playground for the new year and they ask me if we’ve had a good Christmas? Is it okay to tell them then?
My Grandma has died.