It would be fair to say my life would appear to have many life changing moments in it. Many dramas, many ups and many lows. 2007 was crap, and 2008 was a battle of survival, quite literally, and it was with much support, and love from people with whom I have the deepest gratitude towards that I made it through. I dont think I knew quite what to expect out of 2009. I knew it was going to be very very different from 08. For a start I was approaching the year with a fresh view, a fresh outlook, a desire to live a life, fully as possible. A desire to try , as hard as it would be, to look forwards, to plan, to learn to laugh again, to learn to smile again. a desire to keep taking steps forwards in what seems like the epic climb up the mountain that is rebuilding my life. I was not quite prepared for 2009 to bring the two main events that it did do.
The first being in January, at the very beginning of which I received an email from someone saying they would be in the country for a week or two at the end of the month. The mixture of feeling and emotions from that one email were intense, a huge roller coaster. Should I go meet them? Should I make an effort? what might happen? its been years. Will they know me? Will I know them? so many questions, so much anticipation, and so much fear at the same time. But in the back of my head, the little voice was saying … but if you dont now, then when will you? I am immensely grateful and always shall be, to the very small handful of people who saw me through the process of decision making, umming and ahhing. I had people there with the hugs, the smokes, the drinks, the tea, the support, words that needed to be said. and so eventually, at the end of january 09, i headed into the city to meet my father, for the very first time in very many years. I think it may have been the most single hardest thing, in this whole journey to do. I cant quite go into the detail in this one blog about why it was so monumental, and so trust you just believe me for now, that it was life changing. Nothing, absolutely nothing seems to have been the same since.
The 2nd most life changing event has been in the last half of the year. My phone rang very early in the morning, to say my Gran, an amazing woman for 94 years old, had been taken into hospital. This was the beginning of very many phone calls, very many hospital visits, very many vigils and very many ups and downs. After a few weeks, with her having been discharged and being back in the very small and amazing nursing home facility, we again got the call. She was back in hospital. And it would be for the last time, because over the course of that weekend it was to transpire that she was so very ill, that if she didnt have treatment, she would die. And if she did have treatment there was no guarentee she would survive anyway. The most single bravest woman i have to meet. She declined all treatment, and decided that at 94 she had lived life well and perhaps it was time to go. One of the scenes that will haunt me in all this, was my mother and I being by her bedside in the A and E department with a lovely consultant trying to persuade her, but with her adament, he shook his head and said there was nothing he could do. Seeing the tears my mother was crying was heart wrenching.
So, then started the vigil. She declined rapidly, then picked up. Many nights spent at the hospital, and then the nursing home she was eventually transferred back to. 6 weeks later, 3rd of May, after a week of many over night visits, stays, and expecting the worse, we got the phone call. saying we needed to be there. My mother drove into town to collect me, and we trundled off to the home.
Arriving four minutes too late. She had gone. My beautiful, beautiful Gran had gone home. It is very hard and emotional to try and explain the hole that has left. And months and months later, it still feels as though it hasnt closed. I dont think it ever will actually. in my world of chaos, brokenness and general havoc, the one constant were my grandparents. the safe people we used to, as children spend the weekend with while my mum was working (she was left with the task of bringing up two children alone – and was hugely supported by her parents, my grands). The fun we had was immeasurable, my brother going out every weekend with my grandad, and me staying behind to cook, read, go walking and do ‘girly’ things with Gran. When Grandad went home 5/6 years ago now, it left my brother heartbroken. He was like our father figure. The one we didnt have as young children. He was the gentle, kind, loving, doting grandfather … the father children SHOULD have.
For me, the whole was huge, yes, and to this day I miss him. But My Gran, well of course she was special to my brother, but to me? She was my world. I sat and watched her declined over weeks, I nursed her, even when there were nurses to do it, I made sure i was beside. I spent the night holding her hands, and cradling her head whilst she was in so much pain. I was there when I said ‘I love YOU Gran’ and she replied ‘I love you to H’.
my grandparents marriage only parted when he passed away, and after 67 years, i think they did pretty damned well, and firmly believe now they are reunited and up there somewhere partying together like days of old. however it leaves me on the ground, to try and take something away from events that are so life changing.
(my Grans hand is the one on the right – photo taken by © Shine Photographics and Media)