It’s a funny old day

It really is a funny old day. It’s a Tuesday – I usually spend a large proportion of a Tuesday napping, since I started a course of hormone treatments that have given me “the menopause” at (just) 34. 

It’s a day I left a bag of medication I keep quiet in another home too far away to pop and pick them up, because I am in a strange halfway state between house moves across many, many miles. 

It’s a day that Facebook memories is reminding me of jobs I had to leave, jobs I adored and which would have taken me to fantastic places, and of people I had to leave behind with them.

It’s a day that I cried in Boots and some lovely people chatted to me about cooking birthday cakes for small dogs as they popped pills into a bottle so I wasn’t overly upset by the blister packs not being symmetrical. 

It’s a day that people I adore are hurting over losses I can’t even comprehend, and all I have is platitudes. 

A day in which a friend I want to wrap my arms around is too far away and all I can give her is black comedy in a message to put a smile on her face when she’s struggling too. 

A day when my eldest child – the one with aspergers who, according to all definition, is supposed to struggle to factor in the feelings and needs of others – asked his Cubs cooking group to leave the Kiwi fruit out of the kebabs they made so he could share his with me, because I’m allergic but he thought I’d like to share. 

It’s a day when I am in the first place I’ve  ever lived that has felt like a true, safe, wonderful home – but it has become a suffocating box, and all I want is to move into my new home in my new location to embrace my new life.

A day when I’ve worked on a business plan, written content for clients, acted like a competent and successful business woman, and worn a fluffy poncho and comfy pants to do it. 

Another day when my kids made me laugh until I cried, and I’ve cried until I laugh at myself. 

It’s a funny old day. 

And now I think I’ll end it with some sleep. 

Grief is weird

Grief.

It’s not just a weird experience, it’s a weird word. Grief. It rhymes with ‘brief’, but it isn’t. It can follow ‘good’ but it isn’t that either. It is too many things, and – for the terribly British among us – more than a little uncomfortable to feel in a way that people can see.

I lost someone very important. It brought closer the losses of other very important people, and kicked the foundations out of my world a little. Grandparents who were so important, who took us in when we were young, who homed me when I was lost, who guided me and raised me and taught me and loved me. Who held me, and who offered the same to so many other people.

And my grief feels…raw. Lonely. Vast.

I haven’t just lost a Grandfather – I’ve lost a parent, a role model, a guiding star and a friend. I’ve lost a possibility of redemption, for the many times I should have called and didn’t, the visits I should have made and never made time for. I’ve lost the chance to fix all the ways I should have been better to him, and let him down.

I’ve lost hearing more stories of his time in the forces, his many and varied business investments, and the way he once helped an Escort to reclaim the cost of her stockings on a tax return as a business expense.

I distanced myself from him at a time I should have been by his side, giving support in the way he’d given so very much to me, because I was afraid.

I lost my Grampa, and feel anew the loss of two magnificent Grandmothers, and fear for what losses may come.

I lost someone who was so much more to the world than he was to just me – he was more than Grampa, he was adventures, tall tales, grand gestures, sound advice, hilarious anecdotes, witty responses and culinary genius (aside from the boil in the bag rice phase we should probably gloss over).

He spent the last days of his life eating only sweets and dessert – because, as he said, “I’m dying anyway, what the fuck does it matter?”

He loved beauty and grace, he married the most powerful feminist I’ve ever met in person, he fathered four children and they had dozens more. He headed an empire, and guided us all. He was hilarious, serious, incredibly bright and totally oblivious.

He was my Grampa. And he was a whole lot more.

And now I am supposed to say goodbye – and I don’t know how.

So instead, I am telling my very young children stories of him so they remember they knew him too, I am re-framing a beloved photograph, I am speaking more with my family, and I am eating a slice of battenberg because it was one of his favourites.