Getting through grief, well, trying anyway

Hello. It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Last year I think I just lost my spark for blogging, I didn’t want to put posts out just for the sake of it and copywriting became my main freelancing income. I guess a part of me was writing every day and sometimes night, not only was I exhausted but I just needed to write about things I was passionate about.

I haven’t updated the blog with some of the biggest things to have happened in my life since September (I finally got married!) and I will talk about them all but for tonight, I wanted to write about grief. I know, it’s a cheery topic to come back with. Totally on brand. Next month it will be 6 months since the sudden and unexpected loss of my beloved grandfather. I have thought so many times about writing a post about it, so many times about putting it into words and setting it free into the world.

You see, my Gramps and I were incredibly close. I even hate writing the word ‘were’. We shared a love of history, politics, family genealogy, music, laughing. There are some people in your family that you just fit with and, for me, he was one of those people even from when I was tiny. Even though I grew up, the thought of losing him was just abstract. His mother lived well into her 90s and he was always active, going to the gym more than me, eating right (mostly) and full of life and laughter.

I’d gone to Northern Ireland for my first work trip, I hadn’t been there for a few days before I flew because I had a nasty cold (not Covid) and didn’t want to give it to them but I called, I spoke to him the day before I flew on the phone. I planned to go there the day after I got back. I’d even FaceTimed my Mum the day before while she was at their house and chatted while he was sitting in his chair, laughing, cracking jokes.

If there had been any inkling, the slightest sign that something was wrong I would not have gotten on that plane. I would have cancelled my trip. I would have done absolutely anything. On the penultimate day of my trip, I’d done some sightseeing, picked up some gifts to take home, had gone back to my hotel to charge my phone, pack and have a nap. My biggest worry was where I’d get cash out for the next day. That was until my Mum called. Until my entire world changed. I’m not going to go into details, I can’t, but I threw everything into a bag, sorted a flight home and went and sat in an airport for about 2 hours sobbing while waiting for the next flight to London.

For weeks after I was filled with pain and anger, I lashed out a lot. I blamed myself for not being at home, I wanted to do anything just to hug him, just to talk to him one more time.

The weeks after are a bit of a blur, I was meant to have my Hen Do and was going to cancel but was banned by my whole family because he would have been mad if I’d cancelled. I had a day of relief, I guess and felt incredibly guilty after. I spoke at his funeral and even then it didn’t feel real that it was him. I got a tattoo in memory a month to the day.

From that point the wedding was weeks away and where I could I let it just take over, I planned, I sorted things, I had a part of his shirt sewn into my dress and I held it together for the most part. I kept going and wondered what would happen when I stopped. The night before the wedding I sobbed into my best friend’s arms, the day of I thought of him and smiled, the day after I cried again because I was so happy but so sad he didn’t get to see me get married when he was so excited.

And now we’re months passed, my brain and my body finally caught up with me. Months of keep pushing, keep going, holding it together broke. I’ve been in a flare now for a good few weeks and when you’re in pain the defences are wobbly. You’re already not feeling great mentally and the gates open and let everything else in.

Grief, for a human, is something that I’ve not truly experienced before, this is the first major loss for me and wow they had to go and take one of the big ones first. There’s no good way to lose someone but being alone across an ocean on your own with limited flights home was particularly shit. Pretty sure I scared a small child at the airport.

When the feelings overwhelm me, I cry until I feel like I can’t anymore, there is a gaping hole in my chest and physically have to hold myself together. All at once, I feel like a child again but an adult who has to put those pieces back together. I have so many questions and already in a matter of months there are so many things I want to say. It fucking hurts.

But there are days where I’m doing ok, where I can laugh and smile, look at pictures and tell people all about him. Try and convey the love I have for him without being able to introduce one of the most important people in my life as well as try and navigate this world without someone I always turned to.

This is a very long blog and if you got to the end, I’m impressed. I don’t know how much sense this makes, if it makes any sense at all. I had to write though because he loved reading my blog and read every single one he could, leaving comments that it was a good write, talking to me about when I’m finally going to write a book. He told me once I would be after he was gone and I didn’t believe him, but I guess now it is.