4 May 2018

The Grief Mum

My gran was my best friend; I spent nearly every weekend and after
school there. I even went for lunch most days so I could save my
dinner money so I could buy Harry Potter books.

​​Being from a small town, my gran was well known around the town having been born and bred on the island. People knew her and loved her.

She was so glamorous for a lady from the islands, no wellie boots for 
her. Her nails were always long and painted and she wouldn’t be seen dead without her 4 inch high heels, even her slippers had heels. She carried a wicker basket that she carried her shopping in and always had a cigarette in her hands.

She smoked 60 a day and had done from a young age. The 50s smoking was a sign of glamour and it was sadly what killed my gran at young age.

I was 15 when one lunch time I was going to go for my usual visit but as I walked up the steps I had a strange feeling that I just needed to head home. So I turned and told my friends I wasn’t going back to school that day.

I knew something was wrong, something had happened but at the time I didn’t suspect it had anything to do with gran.

My younger sister was picked up from school by our neighbour and I
knew then that something had happened and I had a little voice tell must be gran.

This was confirmed when my dad entered and he told us as swung the door open, he was even unable to wait for us to all sit down before telling us that his mum had died, our gran.

She had fallen down the stairs at her home and I soon found out if I had continued up the stairs for my visit I would have found her, did my gran make sure I didn’t find her?

My world crumbled and I remember my legs giving way and falling to the floor as he said “sorry, girls but granny noble has died”
My sister screamed, I fell and my youngest sister stood in shock, she was still so young that death was a strange thing to understand.

That night my dad got drunk and came into my room(my dad doesn’t
drink), he spoke softly to me as he knew I had lost someone that would never be replaced, just like him I had lost a mother.
My second mother, my best friend, my hero. 

I tried to be strong in the days that passed, being the oldest child, big sister I tried hard to show how mature and grown up I was but inside I was scared little girl wanting her granny back.

I went to the funeral but after the service decided not to go to the
grave side or the wake. Instead I went to a friend’s house, I did not want to see my love being accepted into the ground, I didn’t want to small talk with family. I wanted to forget that that day had happened.

The after math of losing gran was huge; I didn’t have my normal
routine of being at her home all time and I ended up spending hours
alone in my room. I stopped sleeping and was scared of the dark often awake at 4am with my lights on still scared of the darkest of the night.

I was lonely and scared, everything around me because a risk or hazard.

I was exhausted every day after school trying to hide the fear I had
inside and that's when I started performing my routines and rituals to help ease the anxiety the fear was causing. 

I hid a diary with a supply of tissues so I could write down my
anxieties and cry without anyone noticing, the shower being a place of choice for a sob as the water hid the tears.

To my family I was a nutter, a stress head and it was very hard for
my islander dad to imagine the world of mental health in a teenage
girl, I don’t blame him for the “snap out of its” as I too had no idea what was going on. I got help though many years later I still suffer the effects of losing her. Grief doesn't go away but you can learn to live with it.

At the age of 32, I still have the hang ups of the death of my gran, I think about her daily and wonder what life would have been like if she had been with me through adulthood. She was very good at hooking me up with everything I wanted so imagine I would have been flusher and kited out in Topshop finest. Ha!

I think about her with fond memories and talk to my daughter about
her, even at 4 she has a small understanding of death. It keeps my
gran with me and helps me move forward. Some may think she is too
young but I want her to be aware of death as an expected part of life.

It’s sad yes but something we all have to deal with and if we
understand it would we handle it better? Maybe...

I believe in life after death and that my gran is with me every day.

She was and is my guardian angel.

Written by Gail @mumforce  


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