My aged grandfather died recently, the first death on my side of the family since our little girl came into this world 2 years ago.
The news came in the middle of our frenzied getting ready-for-the-morning routine and although it was not the greatest of surprises with a gradual and more recently startling decline into dementia, I still desperately craved that space to remember him, grieve for him, cry for him.
When news like this comes, it’s very hard to get the headspace to process and respect it. Whilst trying to get the details from my own mum – my toddler was busy screaming in my ear at the fact that the attention had been turned away from her for 5 minutes. I tried to explain that this was a very important time and she had to be a good girl because Safta (or grandma’s) father had just died which was met with more screaming.
I wanted to sit down and cry and managed to do that with a family hug for about 5 minutes before the little one started getting antsy again.
I desperately wanted to see my grandfather’s face, and set about digging out an old photo from the box which hadn’t been unpacked since our move back to the UK. I wanted to sit in silence and get lost in his face again but instead, had to safeguard the photos from a noisy toddler who was in the usual destroy-everything-in-my-path mode. I settled for blu-tacking the photo to the fridge and sneaking glances in-between the morning’s duties.
It’s not her fault – I kept telling myself – she’s too young to understand or be able to process any of this.
Although it was his time, and I was relieved that he had been granted release from this life, I wanted to wallow in misery, feel depressed, console my mother, get my head around everything; but instead, I just had to march on through the day as visions of my grandfather flashed up in my mind, and sadness stole its way into my heart in those fleeting moments I had during the day’s mummy boot camp.
If I had the headspace to think, maybe I would have arranged an emergency flight to make the next day funeral with my mum to pay our respects. If I had the headspace, maybe I would have dealt with my emotions better on receiving the news. If I had the headspace, perhaps I would have done a better job at paying my respects to my last remaining grandparent who had just lost their life, but had lost their dignity long before.
The treadmill never stops for mums – and most of the time, that’s fine – but on this occasion, I wish I could have just stepped off for more than a minute or two, to honour the life of my grandfather who had just passed.
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