It’s taken me some time. Somewhere in the middle of last week, I realised just how numb I have been. Last year was hard. Losing our Granny this January was harder. It doesn’t make it easier knowing that someone is fading.
She was the first woman in my family to die that I was close to. It wasn’t the kind of closeness you have where you tell someone everything about yourself. It was the kind of closeness where you know all these different aspects of someone – their grumpiness, their humour, their likes and dislikes, their opinions and their habits – and yet they accept you and you accept them. It is only in the past ten years that I have come to know all these aspects of her. It doesn’t make it easier knowing that she had a long life full of love. It dulls the pain, but her absence is a great unbalance in our lives.
I was there when she was dying and when she slipped away from us. She was ready to go. I sat with her on my own for a little while that day, and I stroked her forehead to soothe her. I felt both grateful that I could make her feel safe but also the weight of sadness that she was in pain. How difficult it is when you come face to face with your own mortality and the mortality of your loved ones. It was both heartbreaking and beautiful. That is what life is.
There are some things I wish I could have told her. That I see her – I see her grace and her stubbornness, her strong will and her gentleness. I wanted to thank her for showing me her impish side, her cheeky smile and for knowing that I would never hold anything against her. She gave me so much when I was young – my first cinema trip to Snow White, her lullabies when I was afraid of the dark – and as an adult I always felt myself feel more confident in life with her pride in us all. I know that she would always be proud of us no matter what we do or where we go.
So healing a lost heart takes time. It doesn’t work getting lost in a crowd, being anonymous or in a group of people. It needs space, time, nature, people you can just ‘be’ with. It requires unplugging from Facebook, a place of noise. Reading, cats, writing and taking up yoga – dancing in the kitchen as you make a cup of coffee. Especially writing, the kind of writing that you don’t show to anyone. Reading books makes me feel: I need to feel things. It requires kindness with yourself, patience and trusting yourself to know what is best for you. Even if some days that is back to back episodes of something on Netflix. Some days that might be taking a duvet day. Other days it might be going for a walk, taking photos of things you see. Just being in the world for once, with no pressure.
Losing yourself doesn’t mean you aren’t still there. It just means you need time.
‘I also believe that when people are going through difficult situations in life… it causes them to search a lot more. They search life and search their soul. When you’re searching, you’re suddenly a lot more open to the world around you, to the possibilities, to things you never thought about before. — When you’re happy, you don’t question the world so much. When you’re lost, you question everything. The very reason why it is so essential to human self-discovery.’ – Cecilia Ahern.