I have a pretty good imagination. As a writer I feel that does me a hell of a lot of favours and allows me to… oh I dunno… come up with a list of 33 random things I can do with a single fossilised Ammonite imprint in a specific time frame (I really enjoyed that exercise!).
So that’s all good. I’m pretty much unafraid – mostly – to let my mind go crazy and take me in all sorts of awesome places when I’m not paying attention. That happens a lot by the way.
However, that sometimes causes problems. Problems that can end up with me huddled up in bed, curled into Dave’s stomach and sobbing at 8:12am in the morning while he dozily tries to figure out why I’ve woken him up.
That one need some explanation? I thought it might.
I got some pretty shitty news this week. My grandmother, on my father’s side, passed away in her sleep.
Now… she was incredibly ill before this and thinking of her, as well as recalling fond memories, always brought to mind the question; how much longer can she hold on? I won’t go into detail – you don’t need it – suffice to say that hearing about it brought a mix of sorrow, anger and relief. Its one of those horrible blends that made my head spin and had me shivering under the duvet for over an hour. Sorrow that I shan’t see her again. Anger that I didn’t spend more time with her when I could. Relief that the pain is now over for her. You know… the usual stuff I imagine (there’s that word again!) most people might feel in a similar situation.
Anyway I’m jumping ahead of the story.
The first I knew something was up, was waking for the loo at 5:30am (I’m beginning to get used to it now; doesn’t mean I like it) and realising that I had a missed call on my mobile. Realising the hour I ignored it, telling myself that it could be deal with when I was awake properly and not with at least two hours more sleep to cram in.
When I do finally get up ready for my wake-the-hell-up shower, I look at the phone again and check the missed call. Its then I realise that there are three missed calls and that two of them are from my dad, another from my sister. She and he both called me at something daft like ten minutes after midnight when I had already been asleep for an hour. And my dad had called me again only twenty minutes before.
I sat on the toilet, thought about it a bit, then decided to ring. Pretty clear something was up, you know? Dad: voice mail. My sister: “Sorry I’m driving, can I call you back?”
So… trying to get some idea of what is happening I ask “Should I worry?” In hindsight, probably stupid, but in my defence I was still half asleep. My sister says; “Um… I’ll call you back.”
Engage wild imagination running riot mode.
I manage to get through the shower without falling over. But by the end of it the phone still hasn’t rung and my mind is already starting to turn over. Back in the bedroom I’ve jumped on Dave shivering (not just with cold), sobbing and trying to explain with real words rather than incoherent whimpers. Already my head has done this:
-my brothers are hurt
-something is wrong with my step mum
-there’s be a fire
-we’ve been horribly robbed
-someone has had a car crash
Then while I’m sitting there, the only thing in the world I want to do is call my mother, to hear her voice and have her make it better. And then… I realise that I’m too shit scared to ring her… in case she doesn’t pick up.
I felt the thought send a thread of cold through my body, starting in my fingers and going through every limb one by one. I ceased up. Mum, something had happened to Mum and everyone was on the way to the hospital. There was no point ringing the landline because she wouldn’t be there and her mobile would go to her voice mail. I’d hear a recording of her voice and that would be a million times worse because it wouldn’t be the real thing…!
That was the end of it, I fell to bits and just couldn’t push through to the rational after my imagination snatched me by the throat and began to throttle reason.
By the time Dad did ring back I was shrieking and demanding that he tell me what was going on while Dave just held me. And he then told me. Nanna had died in the night. Calmly. Peacefully. Her suffering was over.
Its taken me a long time to write this. Mainly because I’m still trying to recover. All of my relatives have put their messages of sadness on Facebook and that, in fact, was exactly the reason Dad was phoning me at stupid’o’clock that night; so he could tell me before I read it on my Facebook feed. Good of him, kind of him and a decision made in the midsts of grief. Can’t fault him for that, even if I was terrified out of my mind.
And so… I’m writing this here as part of my way of dealing with the whole affair. This is the second death in my family. Considering the fact that I’m 27, I feel that’s pretty good going and, for all that I might not want to, I have to admit that there will be more coming as I grow older. I didn’t write anything on Facebook, nor will I, because I don’t think Facebook is the place to air grief. Not for me anyway. This blog entry is much an entreaty for my family to understand as much as for me to quietly deal with the sorrow in my own way.
I’m a writer. I deal with lots of things through writing; happiness, pain, sorrow, anger, confusion… its no different now.
RIP Nanna Susan… while they aren’t my beliefs, I hope you’re now resting in the arms of the God you so loved almost as much as us. I hope he looks after you the way you deserve.