I haven’t been around much recently and this post should make it clear why. I’m going to talk a little about death and grief so if this is something that triggers you, please skip this post.
I’ve discovered recently that what I thought I knew about loss was almost entirely wrong.
I thought that when/if…when I lost someone it would be the same as when my mum’s best friend died, way back when I was 16. Sudden, wrenching pain that died to an ache that lessened with each passing day.
Turns out it hurts a little differently each time.
Just before Christmas, my grannie died. In the end it was sudden and a mercy for it really. She had Alzheimer’s disease and mentally I think she’d died years ago. But her body kept on going, right up until it didn’t.
She was an artist. She sewed amazing patchwork quilts and made incredible apple pies. Her jam was second to none. The last time I saw her, she thought I was her. She got confused you see. And we looked alike. I have her eyes, and her hair. After that I decided I couldn’t face seeing her anymore, for better or for worse.
I think I’d been mourning for her since that last visit. Because my grannie, my mad, wonderful grannie wasn’t there anymore.
She used to call me Flower-tops. She taught me how to do patchwork. She kept every drawing me and my cousins ever did.
She was wonderful. And I miss her.
But my grief for her was tinged with relief. It wasn’t sudden and wrenching, and it didn’t die down to a dull ache. There was relief. And I’m not sure if that makes me a terrible person.
And because 2016 really was the year that just kept on giving, my beautiful friend said she’d been given days to live.
She lost her fight with cancer on the 24th January.
She was 33.
It still feels raw. The grief comes in waves, catching me in unguarded moments when I see her name in my messages, her face in photos. I’ve dreamed of her. I can hear her voice still.
She was a writer, a seamstress, a crocheter, a musician, a nerd. In her last years I think she did everything she fancied, turning her hand to it because time was so short. She was whip-smart and sarcastic and didn’t suffer fools. She could be achingly kind and sometimes amazingly obtuse.
She was my friend. And I miss her so, so much.
I don’t know if the grief will ebb, if the waves will subside till eventually it will just be an ache I carry with me, another memory of a beautiful person who was taken too soon. Right now it’s still so raw, even months on.
I’m getting married, I’m planning my wedding at the moment in fact, but there will be people missing from the guest list. People who should’ve been there.
I wish my grannie could have met my future husband. I wish she could’ve known that I became a writer. I wish she could’ve known me as an adult, not just an awkward teen.
I wish my friend hadn’t died. I wish I could just talk to her again about the things we love and laugh and rant about the things we hated.