Hey everyone, I’m back. The last blog post I did was back on July 16 of last year. The title of that post was “It’s been a while” and since then, it has once again, been a while. By the time July 16 rolled around, my 2021 had already been rollercoaster. One bad thing happening after the other. The only good thing that happened within the first half of 2022 was one of my best friends getting married.
I’m going to just chronologically list the things that happened. In January I lost my grandad on my dad’s side. Very soon after that I lost two more family members, how soon? All of them gone within 24 hours. It was as if I was in a nightmare. Scared when a phone rang. The next morning (only about four hours after all the bad news) I woke up to a phone ringing, we got news that my grandad on my mum’s side had gone in hospital. To say this nearly fucking broke me into a thousand pieces would be an understatement. I thought it couldn’t get worse but it did.
Thankfully it was only a minor thing which was a massive relief. However it didn’t take long for something else to happen. This time, my nan on my mum’s side went in hospital. She’d been in hospital a couple of times the past few years but after everything that already happened, my brain thought the worst. Thankfully, she came out of the hospital. This all happened in January by the way.
February was a tough month. My grandads funeral hit me like a truck but it also motivated me. He would have wanted me to keep going so I pushed on and on. It was a lovely service. I’ll remember that day for the rest of my life.
Throughout the rest of February and March, my nan was in and hospital all for various things but it kinda became routine so it was just a case of making sure she was alright.
April had decided to hit me with more bad news. My nan got diagnosed with COPD. I knew this was bad but all I could do was be there as much as I could be. She’d been in and out of hospital since January. Things once again quietened down a bit which was nice but I kept thinking, when was the next bad thing going to happen?
June rocked up and one of my best friends got married. It was a fantastic day and I ended up being the wedding photographer along with another friend, after theirs dropped out at the last minute. Thank God I had prior camera and photo experience. It was this same month that I left work. I hurt myself at work and my mental health was still in the bin so I thought it best to leave work til I got better mentally. This turned out to be a good decision as July came round and kicked me thoroughly in the dick.
Everything from here on, happened after my last blog post. You think I’d already experience enough bad luck? Well, the world thought otherwise.
We’re in July now and the day after the last blog post I did, we got a call, it was about my nan. Her COPD had gotten worse. We knew it would but the rate of how bad it got was fierce. We were effectively told by the doctors, that there was nothing else they could do. My nan would only get worse and worse until, well, you know. I’d say this hit me but I just sat in a corner and cried. I wondered when it would all stop. When all the pain and awful shit that was happening to me and my family would stop. It was as if I was in some kind of damn nightmare. I wondered what the fuck I did to deserve all of this.
Then when I thought shit couldn’t get any worse. When I couldn’t feel any more defeated and depressed, August came along and thought it would also gang up on me.
It was in the first week of August when I got a phone call from one of my good friend’s mother. When she rings, it’s usually to ask if I can help with any odd-jobs that she might want doing. This wasn’t one of those calls. She called me to give me the news that my friend had been involved in a car accident and that it looked bad. I fell silent, shocked and then just cried my eyes out.
It wasn’t bad enough that 2021 took away 3 family members away, it wanted to try and take one of my friends as well. Then as if it was some kind of shit luck routine, my phone rang.
This time it was from another friend, who is usually quite happy and jovial. I immediately knew something was up and then I had to pretty much listen to my mate, blurt his heart out. He was crying, scared like mad because he had just been diagnosed with a heart condition. All I wanted to do was to give a hug and tell him everything will be alright. I was crying as well because my friend was scared and I couldn’t cure his ills.
The news about my friends hit me hard. It made me question my own mortality. They aren’t much older than I am. When we are young, we do think we are invincible. This was a wake up call that, that is indeed, not the case.
Both of my friends are now doing okay, both getting through their own traumatic experiences. Both of them kicking ass and getting things back into gear. They are incredibly strong people.
Back to my nan now.
When I left my job, I started to spend more to time with her. I visited more often and ask if she wanted anything from the shops. No matter what she wanted I’d get it. As the weeks and months went on she got worse. She was losing a lot of weight. She used to fill her red armchair but, she just was dwarfed by it. It was upsetting to see. I was effectively seeing my nan wither away. I was watching my nan slowly die and I couldn’t do a damn thing about it. It fucking ate me up inside.
September, October and November were relatively quiet. Not a lot went on but it was time I spent primarily with my nan, helping my grandad on my mum’s side out with the oxygen tanks that she needed. They were heavy and my grandad couldn’t carry them upstairs by himself so I helped him.
December comes along and bear with me as this month, this month was the one that actually broke me.
Two weeks before Christmas, we get a call from my grandad, my nan had fallen over. In her fragile state, this was really bad news. She could have very easily broken a bone. She could have done some serious damage. However, looking back at it, I think everyone knew that after this fall, she didn’t have long left.
She came out of hospital and once again, I visited her frequently. Her condition got worse. I won’t list everything but it got to a point where she was struggling to do basic things.
There are two days from last year that are firmly engraved in my brain. They are December 29th and the 31st (New Year’s Eve).
The last time I saw my nan alive, was December 29th. I visited my nan, obviously not knowing it would be the last time I would see her alive. The day was weird, my nan had decided to drink rum, she thought “screw it. I want to enjoy these last few weeks, months and whatnot”. I don’t blame her. The mood was different at my nan’s. Spirits were high, everyone was laughing and joking. It was nice, for the first time in a very long time, things felt normal. Like how they used to be.
Another weird thing that happened was that my nan pulled me aside and asked about my future and what I wanted to do. I told her my goals, my dreams and ambitions, I’ve talked about these several times on this blog. It was strange that she was asking me about these things but looking back at it, I think she wanted to know exactly and fully what I wanted to do before THAT day. She seemed happy and then we talked for ages about detective shows, mainly Columbo as I was on a bit of a Columbo binge fest. My nan was a huge Columbo fan, he was her favourite detective. I left that day smiling and seeing my nan smile, laugh, drink rum and eat Victoria sponge cake. It really did feel like the days of old came back.
Later that night we got a call, a call that scared me. My nan had fallen again, this time, by simply trying to get into bed. My brain immediately went into positive mode. “She fell over not too long ago. She’ll be fine”. My brain couldn’t have been wrong.
Bare with me for this next bit. Just thinking about this, got me in tears. This is where I actually just cracked. I felt lost. Apologies in advance if the next bit makes you cry.
Here comes the day. The 31st of December. New Year’s Eve. I was supposed to go to a New Years Eve party which my nan said to go to and enjoy myself. However a call happened that day which changed that day and changed my life.
3:02 pm. I remember the time so precisely. Don’t know if that’s some kind of mental trauma or what. At that time my mum got a call. It was about my nan. She was to be put on palliative care. There was nothing more the doctors could do. Nothing more the nurses could do. This was it. My nan was dying and she would die within the next few hours.
Knowing that, completely crushed me. I’ve never let out such a pained noise in my life. I was going to lose my nan. My nan was my best friend. The person who I could talk to absolutely everything. She would listen to all the nonsense I would say, simply because she liked the company of her grandchildren. This was the person who in the past few years was someone who I would talk to for hours about detective shows. A few years ago I got really into Columbo and the Jeremy Brett version of Sherlock Holmes. After every episode i’d call her up and talk about it. Every time I visited, we always talked about detective shows, especially Columbo, Perry Mason and Kojak. It was something I didn’t like when I was a kid but now I was older, I loved.
I was about to lose the person who I could talk about Columbo with. I was about to lose the person who would figure out who the murder was before Miss Marple would. I was about to lose the person who taught me how to cook. The person who taught me how to bake. The person who told me to stand firm and go to University, despite the naysayers. The person who was 150 million percent behind me and my dream of going to live and work abroad in Japan. Not once did she say it was unobtainable or a silly dream. She was behind me all the way. She wanted me to send her pictures and postcards when I was over there. I was about to lose the strongest person I have ever known. Not the strongest woman, the strongest person. Period.
I didn’t know how to process it. I can remember seeing my dad’s face. He knew that I was beyond heartbroken, that was I beyond completely broken. I’ve experienced loss before, 2021 already tested me with this, but this time, it hit so hard that I was beyond numb. To say I felt heartache would be an understatement. My dad gave me hug but I knew that he knew, that he couldn’t do anything to fix me at that moment in time.
Me and my mum went to the hospital but by the time we got there, it was already too late. Defeated. Deflated. Lost. Broken. Sad. Heartbroken. All of these could be used to describe how I felt. Looking back at it though, I’m glad I didn’t see her actually pass on. I think that might have actually broken me past the point of repair. Hell, we are in June of 2022 and the pain of the loss still feels incredibly raw.
Me, my mum and my uncle stayed in the room with my nan for about an hour to say our goodbyes. I didn’t want to leave though. I remember asking the nurse and apparently this is a common thing, “can you help wake her up”. I knew she was already gone but I just didn’t want to accept it.
I held her hand for about 50 minutes. Knowing that this would be the last time I’d get to do so. I started talking about Columbo and I was expecting her to start talking with me about it. However this time she wouldn’t. I just couldn’t accept that she was gone. I gave her one last hug. One last kiss before I left the room and started the long journey home.
Everyone celebrating New Year’s Eve, welcoming the new year in. Fireworks going off, people singing, cheering yet me and my family were grieving. We were in pain dealing with the loss of someone who had such a huge presence that it would be noticed. It didn’t seem real, all the excitement for new year around us and there I was, just completely broken.
Rather than call for a taxi straight outside the hospital, we decided to walk for a bit. To clear our heads and to just process what’s happened. My mum and my uncle were talking but I was silent. Even when asked about something, I blanked it. I just didn’t know what to say. What to think. I was broken. I was a broken and incredibly sad man who didn’t know what to think, say or do.
That walk felt like the longest walk of my life. I don’t know if anyone has just had a completely empty head before but let me tell you, it’s a weird experience. I remember that I just kept walking, looking down at the ground holding a printing of an ECG test of my nan’s heartbeat. It’s something hospitals ask if you want one and I did.
The walk lasted for about 30 minutes with me looking down at the floor, periodically looking up to see where my mum and uncle were. We stopped at a shop. My mum wanted some cigarettes, my uncle wanted a drink and I, well I still didn’t know what to do. I did go in the shop after a while. Got myself a couple of beers and a bottle of Coke Zero. We then got into a taxi and then the bug issue occurred to all three of us. How are we going to tell my grandad?
My grandad went up earlier that day before she passed and he left because it was too upsetting to see her like that and in that much distress. They were married for 51 years. How could we tell him that his wife, my nan had now passed. I immediately said I couldn’t do it. I was shaking and crying just at the thought of hearing someone tell him.
We got out of the taxi and my grandad was already outside waiting for us. We didn’t even have to tell him. He already knew. I suppose that if you are with someone that long, that you kinda telepathically know what the other person is thinking and feeling. I couldn’t step inside my nan’s house. I just couldn’t I saw her red armchair and it crushed me that she wasn’t sitting in it, watching the TV and doing a crossword. This is when it fully sunk in that she had indeed, gone. We were for a while before me and my did the long walk home to tell my dad and my sister.
I got home, my dad already knew and gave me a hug. After that hug, I went to my room, curled up on the floor and cried. I stayed in my room for about in hour before coming down stairs and just staring into space.
The next few weeks were strange. I never felt so empty and lost. Again I’ve experienced loss before but this one hit me to such a degree that I never felt before. I eventually got the courage to go see my grandad and just help him with everything. Seeing that chair empty though, got to me. Still does. My grandad showed off old photos, wedding photos, some of which I’d never seen before. It was lovely to see all of them.
The next few weeks was helping to get the funeral sorted. The week before the funeral I was able to see my nan one last time at the Chapel of Rest. It was an overwhelming experience. Started crying as soon as I saw her in the casket. Stayed there for about an hour just talking with my mum and saying goodbye to my nan again.
Then came the day of the funeral. This was an emotional and extremely overwhelming day. Seeing the casket, the flowers and being in the funeral car all the way to the funeral service. I think I cried the whole journey. Felt like my entire chest was caving in on itself from all of the sadness. Funerals are to celebrate the life of a loved one whose passed away but all I wanted was my nan back. Cried before the service. Cried throughout the service. Cried after it too. I saw a lot of family there. All coming together to support each other, especially my grandad who needed the most support.
I went for a drink with my brother, mum, uncle and grandad after the funeral. We all had a drink to in memory of my nan. For just a little bit, things felt normal.
Fast forward to the end of February and it was time for me to get back into the swing of things. However after meeting with various people, I realised as well others just how much the passing of my nan affected me. I mean, losing several family members in a single year is enough to hurt anyone. The passing of my nan was the one that got me. The one that I always think about. It’s because of just how influential and important she was to my life.
Thankfully, due to some awesome people I know, I’ve got a wonderful support network. I was even put on to getting therapy calls for dealing with the loss of my nan. Those calls have been a massive help. I feel much better now in June of 2022 than I did in January and February. I still have those moments of sadness, those times where I’ll just think of my nan and start crying. They won’t go for a while but it’s natural. It’s all apart of grieving. Even the therapist that I speak to said, that it was an unusual amount of bad luck. That these things happen but for all of the bad stuff to happen all within a year, she’s not heard anything like it.
Now we are back to present day. Life could be better but it’s a lot happier than last year which I see as a win. Things seem to be moving again. The cogs of the machine seem to be moving again. Bit by bit I’m getting back to normal. Bit by bit I’m working towards my goals but now, I’ve got my grandad on my dad’s side watching over me and my nan on my mum’s side watching over me as well.
I want to say thanks. To everyone that reached out to me. To everyone that gave time out of their day to see how I was. To those that just checked how I was or simply tell me a joke every other day to cheer me up. There’s so many people to thank that it’d be as long as the credits to a Marvel film. You know who you are. Thank you. Seriously, thank you.
To anyone else going through the loss of a loved one, or any bad times in general, please talk to people. It is okay to ask for help. It is okay to feel sad when bad things happen, it’s natural. The bad times suck, but stick through it, the good times will come back. Those good times will feel good and you’ll feel good. To anyone going through difficult times, you got this, you’ll get through it.
Once again, thank you.