I have lost my grandmother and it is killing me.
My grandmother hadn’t been well for sometime, she spent Christmas in the hospital, where we joined her for a few hours, she spent weeks in there. Eventually she was moved to a care home for rehabilitation, whilst we waited for social services to arrange careers to come and help her and my granddad. See, my grandmother has had problems walking the last few years. She had her knees replaced but it just didn’t really work out for her, she had become increasingly weaker as the years went on. And it would have been impossible for my granddad to be able to cope, and after this hospital stay I was starting to see how truly frail she was.
I saw her last Sunday, she was alive. She wasn’t very talkative, but it didn’t matter. It didn’t feel awkward. It just felt normal. For the rest of the week I made up excuses not to go, partly out of laziness and partly out of depression. But mostly laziness. On Monday my mum called me from the care home, she told me my grandma was coming home on Thursday, we were all so happy I spoke to my grandma briefly on the phone. I am not very good at phone conversations with anyone so this was brief. But I told her I loved her and I hope she heard that. Because I really meant it. Because part of me knew that something wasn’t right.
On Wednesday I lent her my hat, My mum took it to her so her head didn’t get cold whilst she was going home. She loved the hat and I said she could keep it. She returned home on Thursday and I pretended I was sick so I had an excuse to not see her for the 20 minutes my mum went to visit before work.
It’s cliche to say this, but if I had of known what was going to happen I’d have been there.
Tonight I went out for my friend’s birthday, It was good, I enjoyed myself. As I was coming home on the bus my brother text me asking when I was coming home, I said I was on the way. I knew something wasn’t right. My parents finish work at 10, they are home by 10:30 so why at 11pm was he making a big deal out of the fact he had unlocked the door. I asked him why. He didn’t respond. I got off the bus and walked down the street. I asked if my mum and dad were home. He did not reply. I knew something was wrong. My grandparents live at the top of my street. There was a police car pulling up outside and a lot of cars outside. I knew something wasn’t right, but I put it to the back of my head.
I was worried about my parents, I didn’t think it was my grandma.
As I got through the door and saw my brothers face I knew something had happened. I asked what had happened. He told me that grandma had died and I broke down, I grabbed my cat and cried into him as he struggled to get away. My family isn’t touchy feely and I just needed a hug and I knew he was the only thing I could hug. I was hysterically crying, shouting about how selfish I was for not seeing her the day before. I don’t know the last time my brother saw my grandma. It must be horrible for him.
I went and sat in the conservatory with my cat. I grabbed him again and cried into his fur. When my Dad arrived back and asked where I was, my cat was happy to escape. I went to my grandparents house. My family were there. People were hugging me and crying and it wasn’t as awkward as I imagined. But it was not fun. My grandma was still there, in her bed in the front room. My mum came out of the front room and asked me to go in. I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to see her like that. My mum virtually dragged me in and I wish I had not gone. That image of her pale face will never leave me. It was so sad.
I left almost straight away. I couldn’t stay. I sat on the floor by the stairs and just stared at my phone I began to write about how much she meant to me but it was impossible to get the words out.
She is with her brothers and sister now, all of whom died before her. Well, I hope she is. I don’t really believe in god, or heaven, but I like to think she is there because it’s what she believed. I struggle with my beliefs, I don’t know how I feel. As I had my back to the door when the undertakers took her body away, I stared at the ceiling and I told “god” that I hated him for this. I don’t even believe in God, but I was angry and I needed someone to yell at if only in my head. People kept hugging me and telling me It was ok and how she would live on in my heart and in my mind and all the things you tell someone to try and make them believe that there is some solace in death.
I wish I could believe that death wasn’t the end, I wish I could see the peace in death. I wish I could be happy that she at least got to come home and die with my grandfather around her.
But I can’t. My Granddad kept telling me how upset she was when her careers arrived that night, how they had been “rough” getting her into bed with a harness when she preferred to be helped with her wheel chair. I know it probably wasn’t this that killed her, but it didn’t help. The careers left just 30 minutes before she died. How could that possibly be? My granddad says he asked if she was in pain and she said no. He asked if she was ok, she said no. I hope she wasn’t in pain, I hope she was happy to be home and knew how much we all loved her.
I hope she knows how much I respected her, how important she was to me. How much everything she did mean to me. How even at the age of 25 I still sleep every night with the baby blankets her friend had given me when I was born.
And that is all I can say right now, for I am truly at a loss for words.
The Elephant in the Room