Wednesday 15 July 2015

The Thing About Death

We recently just returned from New Zealand. Our trip was bitter-sweet as we went to farewell my Nana. We arrived on the Sunday four days before she eventually passed. When I walked into her hospital room after a gruelling day of travel I didn't break down and cry as I saw her fragile body, a mere shell of who she was when I last saw her 2 months prior. It surprised me. I quietly questioned myself. Why wasn't I upset? why was I ok with this? 
I sat there with one of my cousins for the next couple of hours talking to her, holding her hand, and stroking her cheek. This was even more confusing to me. I am not an overly affectionate person, unless its my husband or kids. I will not be the the first one to be all touchy touchy. I rarely hug my own mother without it feeling strange. Not that I was deprived of affection as a child or anything, anything but that. I don't know what my issue is there! So for it to feel so natural and calming to comfort my Nana like that confused me to no end. Why was I acting like this? it wasn't me. 
We talked so openly about death. I told her that under no circumstances was she to die on my birthday later that week. She promised she wouldn't but she totally backed out on her word and did it anyway! We made plans for her to send our future babies down to us. My cousin and I both put in orders for little girls next. We talked of baby names and planned out what kind of sign she would give us from the other side to let us know when she was around. 
For Sarah and I Nana was the only Nana we had ever known. We were extremely close, this should have been harder, but it wasn't. 
As the next few days progressed and she slipped further beyond the veil and her breathing became laboured and she begged for it to be all over I had never wished someone to die more than I did in those last couple of days. I didn't think it would ever feel so right to wish someone to go, especially my Nana. My Mum and Aunty had kept a vigil beside her bed 24/7. When Mum rang at 11;30pm and told me it was over it wasn't a rush of grief that overtook me but of relief. 
The following few days the momentum carried us through, still surprisingly few tears. I was waiting for it to hit me but it never came. We cleaned out Nana's house (she hadn't actually lived in it for 10 years) and then it began to hit slowly but surely it was coming. As we went through pulling things out of the cupboards and draws the memories came back, flooding back. 
The realisation that the memories were finished and there would be no more was setting in. How could a this big piece of my life be gone? and what was I going to fill it with? Would my children remember this woman that loved them so much? Sure they remember her now but would they be able to hold on to those memories. I cried for them, for the loss that they don't even realise. 
Four weeks following her passing I loaded my three kids back onto a plane to come home. The morning we left was hard. Probably one of the hardest so far. It was definitely the most I had cried anyway. When Grand Graeme rang to say he was coming to say good bye I went into the bathroom and cried, cried like I hadn't been able to yet. The fact that I was going home meant it was all over. How could it be over? I wasn't ready for it to be over yet. How could I leave Grand-Graeme? this old man who had lost his best friend, he most cherished companion? Saying good bye to him was like saying good bye to Nana. 
When I returned home and put my kids into bed, there sitting on their beds were the little Bunny Rabbits Nana had knitted them a few months prior. It warmed my heart to see my kids cuddled up with them, knowing exactly who made them. As I placed Ammon in his bed there laid his beautiful blanket so lovingly crocheted by Nana (with one arm no less) as she hurried to finish it before he was born fearing she would never complete it before her mortal journey was through. 
I think of her every day, some days its constant. I want to ring her to tell her all the boring things that are happening. I hope she died know how much I loved her and admired her. A few days before she passed she told my mum that her beloved charm bracelet was to be split between her two great grand daughters. I wear Lili's charms everyday as a reminder to me of how close she really is. 

Death changes you. You don't know how it will effect you until you are right there in the middle of it. My expectations of how I would handle it were completely off. It stirred something inside of me that I never knew I had. I am so thankful for the memories. The greif I imagine will go on for a long time to come. I feel it in waves. Whenever I hear a song we loved, or find a hand written note, or see her number on my phone. So for now, I will find my new normal and figure out how in the world I will fill the space she has left, though I doubt it will ever be filled.

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