Life has been dimmed for me this past few weeks. I tried everything I could think of (beach walks, wine, oven-baked chocolate bars…) to brighten things up but I was thwarted at every turn. Even though I clung to the knowledge that it always passes, I was scared that it might not.
When my Grandfather died, twenty years ago, I felt sad but also guilty. I felt guilty because I was aware that I would rather have lost Grandad than to have lost Granny. He bought me sweets and taught me to play draughts but Granny was my rock. She was my one absolute, my true North. I needed her very badly just then. I always had.
In the years after that I got married, we moved abroad, we became a busy all-consuming six ever-hungry people. Granny became less mobile. I didn’t see her often enough. I didn’t phone often enough. I have excuses but they are not good enough.
She died last August. Her final weeks were excruciating. I was in a soft-play centre with the kids when Husband phoned to tell me she was gone. I felt nothing but relief that her ordeal was over.
The funeral was no comfort.
The first wave of grief hit a week later and I just rode it. I think I did okay, keeping my head up as wave after wave hit. Each seemed to hurt just as much as the last but they became fewer and further between.
As the first anniversary approached I hit the doldrums. No waves. Just relentless downward pressure. The pathetic fallacy was verging on farcical. The rain was incessant, Irish Water flooded our attic and water poured through the ceiling. I leaked sadness.
She was everywhere. The lamb chops tasted just like she used to make them for me. My favourite. I wore her cardigan. I made her bread.
The day passed and I couldn’t think of a word to say to any of the other people who I know miss her too. We are not great at that sort of thing. I am not good at that sort of thing. It just passed over.
I feel better now. The sun is shining. The flowers are blooming. The blackberries are ripening. I have this brilliant song in my head.
When I was little my Mum would ask me to dial Granny’s number. Granny always answered the phone cautiously, as if someone might ask her for money.
‘Hi Granny, it’s me’
‘Ahh, Lynda!’, delighted.
I learned, of course, to give my name. She couldn’t tell our voices apart.