I am writing this with tears spilling out of my eyes and a glass of red wine next to me. Molly is fast asleep and after holding my emotions in all day I can finally let them out – the dam has burst. I lost my dear, sweet Nanna last week very suddenly and in quite horrific circumstances. Time has stood still since then, we are all absolutely distraught. No one knows what to do or say. I wasn’t going to write a post about it, in fact at one point I was never going to write again. How can I trivialise my Nanna’s passing in a simple blog post? I could never write anything that would be good enough to convey the depth of despair we are all now consumed by.
Grief is such a personal experience, and part of me didn’t want to share it with anyone, let alone strangers in the vast space of the internet. But the pressure has been building. I have tried to distract myself by cleaning the entire house (I even defrosted the freezer). I have exercised, drank green tea, meditated and cried in short bursts when Molly wasn’t looking, but it wasn’t enough. What I have come to realise is that, for me, there is nothing quite like pouring your soul out onto a white page and seeing it in big black letters. I can feel my stress subsiding already, it really is free therapy. Also my Nanna loved to write. We have written eachother so many letters over the years, and she had the most beautiful handwriting…so this is for you Nan.
We are an extremely close family. When I was born I lived in a house with my Mum, Nan, Grandad, 3 aunties and 3 uncles. We were a bit like the Irish Waltons! My earliest memory is of my Grandad singing and my Nanna playing the organ. Our house was filled with music, singing, laughter and most of all, love. Coming from war-torn Belfast in the 70’s my Nan and Grandad moved everyone over to Wales for safety (where I was born) but we all remained close when, years later, they moved back to Ireland. My Grandad passed away after a short battle with cancer 12 years ago, and while I remember being devastated, this time just seems so much worse. I think this is obviously because it was so sudden, and also now because I am a mother myself. Not only have I become so much more emotional since giving birth, but anything to do with death has caused major anxiety for me.
This is still just so raw, and I am finding it hard to process what has happened, and that I will never see my lovely Nanna again. My family all rushed over to Belfast when the accident happened, so I have been on my own with Little M to look after. It has been quite intense at time, with the grief coming in waves. It manifested itself in physical symptoms for a few days…my shoulders and arms ached as if I had been lifting heavy weights. I felt cold and feverish as if I was coming down with the flu again. My head throbbed and my chest was tight. I was fully expecting to have a panic attack at one point, and have remained on edge since. Today I have had awful stomach aches and haven’t felt like eating at all. I just feel, well, just so sad. An overwhelming sadness that is heavy and black, while tears just come and go on their own.
Through all of this I am still a mum to a 2 year old who is far too young to understand what is going on. As much as I have sheltered her from it by not showing my emotions in front of her, she still knows something’s up. She has been really clingy and has been waking up in the night again wanting to come into my bed. I have let her because it’s been so lovely to feel her close to me during those dark hours…I need her as much as she needs me. Having a toddler to run after all day has actually been a blessing in disguise. I can’t just hide under my duvet and cry (as much as I want to), and as tired as I am, I have to get up, get dressed, and get out of the house. We even went to a family rave on Sunday! I thought about cancelling but it just wasn’t fair on Molly. At first I felt guilty for smiling or laughing with her, “how can I smile when my Nanna has just died?” But soon realised that that was just ridiculous. As harsh as it sounds, life just carries on regardless, and my Nanna definitely wouldn’t want to see any of us this upset. This has been a real test of my strength as a mother, and it’s amazing how strong you can be when you have to.
There will be plenty of time to cry at the funeral on Thursday. I’m flying over to Ireland on my own as I just don’t want Molly around it all, so John will be looking after her for a couple of days. I need that time to be with my family and grieve. We’ll cry, we’ll laugh, we’ll sing, and we’ll talk into the night of days gone by and of how much we’ll miss her. I’ve also been asked to read a poem at the service, I just hope I do her justice. I’m sure I’ll be writing a few more posts as the weeks and months go by, grief takes on many stages so there will be a lot of emotions to feel and more tears to shed. That’s the good thing about the blogging community, there is always someone out there to offer support, advice or even a nice comment, which is why I decided to share it.
Sleep tight Nanna, I will miss you xxx