I lost my Grandpa this week. When I say that I lost him, unfortunately I don’t mean that he wandered off in Tesco, I mean that he died. We aren’t sure what from yet, but we do know he was ready to go.
I hope when my time comes, I’m ready too. I like to think he wasn’t only done with living because he had very little enjoyment left in his days, but that he’d done all he wanted to do. Towards the end he could barely see, barely hear and was bed-bound and living in a home, a few miles away from his wife of sixty-five years. Although that sounds like a horrible way to spend your last days and weeks, I have a hunch that he was playing happy memories on an imaginary film reel in his mind whenever he was without company.
When I found out he was gone I initially just felt sadness. Mostly for my Grandma, but also just because he wasn’t here anymore, that a life had ended and I would never see him again. I also felt incredibly sad for my sisters who are both abroad and aren’t here to say goodbye. Over the next couple of days, a warming sort of relief crept in and the sadness eased. I realised a weight had been lifted off all of us now that he was finally at peace.
My Grandma no longer has to feel guilty if she doesn’t feel up to visiting him. I don’t have to feel torn about whether I should take Rose to see him in the home (I wasn’t sure how she would react, seeing him in there at a time when her imagination is running riot) and, most importantly, Grandpa is free. Free from the indignity of having his puréed meals spoon-fed to him like a child, free from bed baths and bum-wiping and finally free from having people make decisions for him like he had lost his mind. (He hadn’t, although the day I visited him when he was delusional with a water infection was a definite nod in dementia’s direction).
I want to be ready to go because I’ve experienced a great big helping of the weird and wonderful things this world has to offer. I refuse to drift from season to season without noticing things changing around me, I want to appreciate the beauty in everyday things and challenge myself to push my own boundaries. With that in mind, I tried quails eggs for the first time this week. Everyone has to start somewhere, right? FYI: They taste exactly like chicken’s eggs except they are tiny. I like to think this is a verrrrrrrrrrry gentle lean into saying ‘yes’ to more of the unknown.
I’m sure most of you know that I have two beautiful daughters and I utterly adore Motherhood. So much so that it would probably now be enough for me to just watch my girls grow up, being here when they need me to be, feeling immense pride when they achieve their goals and encouraging them to be the best that they can possibly be. However, at almost 33 years of age, I want to continue living for myself, as well as inhaling as many memories as possible while my gorgeous girls grow up.
I can see how it might be tempting to live life exclusively for, and vicariously through, your children. I think there is a risk of unconsciously chalking-up their achievements as your own and becoming a passenger in your own life as these tiny bundles of joy innocently take over your entire universe. However I can’t think of any better encouragement for my little ladies to live their lives to the maximum than seeing their mother do that for herself. I want to show them that stretching their capabilities could indeed lead to failure, but it could also quite possibly lead to something wonderful.
So that’s my plan. Do more. Try more. Enjoy more. Show them more. And should the time come when I can no longer gaze at my loved ones’ faces, when I can’t hear their voices, when I can’t lift my limbs to hold them tight, I will be left not only with a sense of completeness, but with a never ending feature film of wonderful memories to ease the pain.
For Harry, with love xx
13.02.27 – 02.02.16