It’s coming up to that time of year again for me and my family. In 2019, I lost both of my grandads within 1 month of each other. 6 months before I had never needed them more.
Now, 2 years on, it feels like nothing has changed while at the same time feeling like everything is different.
I am aware that makes no sense.
I can have days where I think I’ll just pop over to see Grandad Joe or go to lunch with Grandad Mike, before realising I can’t.
Part of grieving is talking. Or writing in this case. So I’m going to write.
Grandad Mike was the loudest, funniest man you would ever meet. He was Broadstairs beach personified. Sitting at the beach hut in his red speedos, giving pound coins to all of the great grandchildren so they can go on the roundabout or buy an ice cream. Sitting there in the summer evenings (thankfully a bit more covered up 😝) watching the fireworks, while making more noise than all the kids put together. Fireworks are not the same now without the over the top ooos and ahhhs coming from him. The random bags of apples or bunches of dahlias left on our doorsteps, with everyone knowing they were from him. Fruit picking in his allotments all kinds of fruit that we knew we wouldn’t eat, but it was fun nevertheless. Taking us out for lunch most weeks to his favourite Toby Carvery just so he can have his lemon ice cream sundae. Telling everyone who came near us that we were his family and “aren’t they beautiful”. He always said how lucky he was. Truth is, it was us who was lucky.
Grandad Joe. Humble, proud but quietly fierce. He stood tall and always made me feel safe. He was everything I missed out on in a Dad. Cheating at board games and denying it- even getting the kids in on his plan! Monday’s was my day to take Iris to see him and my Nan. Iris was the one out of all my children that he saw the most. They were a pair! She made him belly laugh with her funny ways and odd nature. They would sit on his chair looking through his magnifying glass just seeing what they could see. She made the old Grandad come out. The Grandad that he was to us when we were little. The naughty, rebellious Grandad who would sneak cake when my Nan wasn’t looking because she would tell him off. The journeys in his car to random farms, listening and singing along to the carpenters . Oh and he was proud. So proud. He was proud of his family. He never judged. The mistakes I have made in my life, he just listened. “Grandad….. I’m pregnant” was something I remember the most. Despite circumstances, he was pleased. He wanted me to be happy.
I miss them both. Not any less than 2 years ago, not any more, just the same.
The emptiness is still there but you just learn you have to fill it.
I struggle with not having anywhere to go for them both. They were both cremated at the same crematorium, so that’s the only place I kind of have that’s ‘theirs’.
But I know they would both be proud of me and the kids. I know they would be so so proud of Ellis.
In my darkest days, I’ve felt them there.
Sitting alone in the dark on T11 North ward, wondering how I was going to cope with what lie ahead, I knew.
I knew I would be OK because they were both looking out for us.
So yes I am still grieving 2 years on, but that’s OK. Grieving isn’t a race. Its your journey to make in your own pace.
Do it your way, because that’s OK.