Reflecting Back On This Time Last Year

I’ve got a list as long as my boobs (lol) of blog posts I feel like I should be writing.

And I planned, in the tiny pocket of writing time I had today, to maybe write something about social media (groundbreaking, I know), but there is one thing that’s been playing on my mind since I woke up and so whaddya know here we are typing about it.

Y’see on this very day last year I was in Corfu.

I was reading Mad Girl by Bryony Gordon, eating pizza for lunch, and posing by the pool in a little Primark swimming cossie, taking photos for Instagram.

But what I didn’t know at the time was that I was pregnant.

Or, that less than 24 hours before, my nan had passed away – alone – in her care home.

It’s been a funny old year. Excellent beyond belief for the most part, but full of little twists and turns that have pulled my emotions in unexpected directions.

And losing my Babcia was one of them.

I wrote about it at the time (you can read it here), and to this day it is one of my favourite blog posts. It makes me smile and cry all at the same time, and it makes me feel incredibly privileged to have had such a glittering firework of a woman in my life.

But what I didn’t mention back then was that it had taken six weeks for the news of her death to filter down to me.

And I still find that fucking hard.

I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye or to lay her to rest the way most people do.

And, when, a few days later, I found out I was pregnant, I spent five and a half weeks believing she was alive and that I would be able to tell her.

I knew, that because of her dementia, she likely wouldn’t understand it was her great grand child, but I hoped that she would smile and show some warmth for the stranger in front of her.

I’d planned to drive back to Sussex the week after my 12-week scan – to tell my dad and my step-mum and brother and sister on the Saturday, and to drive over to see my nan on the Sunday.

It’s hard knowing I excitedly said dumb things to my boyfriend like ‘oh my god, how cute is it going to be when Babi holds the baby for the first time. Like OK, I know she won’t be able to hold it exactly, but like, just to take a photo of them together’, when actually, that was never a scenario that would have ever happened because she’d already gone.

I won’t go into details of why exactly it took six weeks for the news to reach me or why she was alone when she finally took her last breath, mostly because I’m still not even sure of the truth behind it, even today – but just know that I would have given my everything to have been there. To have held her hand. To have whispered that I loved her.

I cried almost daily throughout pregnancy because I missed her so hard it hurt.

I had a real craving throughout the entire nine months to be looked after – which, for those that know me well – is not something I’ll often admit.

I like to think I’m independent and strong and brave, but I didn’t feel any of those things whilst I was carrying Atti. I wanted to be waited on hand and foot like a sick little child, to have someone stroke my hair and cook my favourite foods.

And I wanted the one person who had looked after me the most when I was little, the one person who had made me feel special and important above all others.

Her.

I think pregnancy made me mourn her harder than I would have otherwise. Maybe it was the sadness that the two would never meet, or maybe the hormones, but it drowned me in a way I wasn’t ready for.

I choose to believe that she was never destined to meet my child – or children. That Atticus was her parting gift to me. That a little bit of her – her energy and kindess and for want of a better word, spunk – lives in him.

The same way I choose to believe that my grandad sent me Chris because he knew he would pick me up from the lost world I was living in within my own head – that he would give me stability and safety.

Y’see, in a week, it’ll be five years since he died.

And I struggled a lot with his death too – mostly because although he was elderly and in and out of hospital, I – rather blindly – didn’t see it coming.

I’m not a religious person. In fact I’d go as far as to say I was an atheist. But when my grandad died, I prayed to him.

When I was a kid, my nan had made me pray to a cross in her room before bed, and in copying that action, I felt a closeness to them.

I asked him to send me some of this strength, I asked him to help me, to look after me. I apologised for not saying good bye. I told him how much I missed him and how much I loved him.

I even wrote to him in my diary.

I mean, it sounds absolutely fucking wild reflecting back on it and even admitting it.

But two months later I met Chris in a bar in Shoreditch and things have, quite literally, never been the same since.

Despite the fact I don’t necessarily believe in life after death, I have to believe that they are still out there, that they are guiding me and watching me and sending me love. Because without that idea, I feel a little lost.

Grief is the toughest pain we ever experience as humans – and I would go through labour ten times over to just have one night of pierogi and card games with them.

I just hope I’m doing them proud.

 


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