Grief. It’s something we all encounter at some point in our lives… on many occasions. Does it ever get any easier though?
The short answer is “no”. Although, it does seem to be a feeling you learn to live with. It never goes away, you never get over it. But, it accompanies you during your daily life, reminding you that you are only human.
My Nan passed away in April after a battle with cancer. Her death wasn’t a shock but we didn’t expect it to happen so soon. We fully expected her to meet baby Anwen (who was due in May), we fully expected her to be here for her 59th wedding anniversary and my granddad’s birthday (also in May). We expected to celebrate her birthday (today) and we expected to be having this Christmas with her.
Unfortunately, none of that was to be. Fortunately, we had time. She passed away on the 19th April with all of us by her side. It was an experience for me. I had never sat by someone’s side as they took their last breath. It was devastating but liberating (if that is even the right word). The feeling I had knowing Nan was no longer hurting, the fear I felt over her dying, was indescribable. I still cannot find the words to describe those feelings but seeing the pain fade from her face and looking at my Nan, seeing her face transform to the way she was before she became ill, it was an experience that gave me some level of peace.
Over the last 7 months, I’ve been through so many emotions. I’ve wandered through the grief in a rather haphazard way. I know I haven’t completely dealt with it completely, but I will. In my own time.
There’s no time limit on grief. No two people grieve in the same way, at the same time. There is no one right way to grieve. Personally, I keep myself busy, something that is easy to do with 5 children. Just because I don’t go to the cemetery every day, I don’t visit my grand dad every day, it doesn’t mean I don’t care. My Nan is in my thoughts daily but keeping busy is my coping strategy.
Today, we celebrated Nan’s 81st birthday. We celebrated together. We tied birthday cards around her beautiful headstone. We all went back to Nan and Bamps’ home and ate party food, cake and just spent time together. It was a first. The first birthday we celebrated without her by our sides. She would have loved it though. Nan was always at her happiest when we were together… unfortunately, my Uncle was on call and didn’t make it. 🙁
Things are different now. They aren’t bad, just different. It’s new to all of us. We have to find different ways of doing things. We have to learn how to use our grief in a positive way to bring our family closer together.