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My Grandad's Death: Still Grieving Five Years On

"I answer the heroic question 'death, where is thy sting?' with 'it is here in my heart and mind and memories'." ~ Maya Angelou

Five years ago today, I was probably in my room crying my heart out because a few hours previously I had learnt that my Grandad had sadly passed away. Going through my mind was feelings of sadness, heartbreak, and guilt. I was sad because (obviously) my Grandad had just died. I was heartbroken because I had just lost my Grandad and knew I was never going to be able to see him again. And I was feeling guilty because I had the opportunity to go and see him the day before he died, but instead chose to stay at home because I would rather stay at home and watch TV while my brothers couldn't annoy me as they had gone to see him, meaning I hadn't seen him in just over a month. And I think this is part of the reason why I am still grieving five years later.

The guiltiness I felt on that day I had been told my Grandad had died was way above any feeling of guiltiness I have ever felt before. I guess it's really easy for anyone to tell me that I wasn't to know that he would die when he did and that it's not my fault for not going to see him for one last time. But this doesn't stop the guiltiness from going away. I should have known that no one knows how long they have left on this earth and that we should try and spend every opportunity we have with our loved ones, particularly our grandparents as they are more likely to leave us sooner than other people are. But did this thought ever once go through my mind when deciding whether or not I should go and see my Grandad? Of course it didn't. Because I am an incredibly selfish person who would rather sit and watch TV in peace than spend precious time with my Grandad.

Forgive me for saying this, but in some way I am glad I actually didn't go and see my Grandad on his final day here on earth. I know that sounds incredibly harsh and vile, but hear me out. When my brothers came back home after seeing my Grandad on his final day, my Mum asked them how he was. My youngest brother was two at the time so he didn't really know that my Grandad was ill or that he might not have that much time left with us. But my other brother was ten and he said that my Grandad didn't seem that great and actually seemed in quite a bad way. This is why I am glad that I never spent his last day with him. My last memory of my Grandad is from New Year's Day 2015 in his house and even though he had to occasionally use an oxygen mask throughout the day, I still remember him as the same person I have always known and loved. If I had gone to see and spend time with him on his last day here on earth, I feel like my last memory of him would be different and I would rather remember my Grandad as still looking like himself than being incredibly unwell.

I think the news of my Grandad's death hit me quite hard, as that news would do to anyone. I guess I kept my emotions to myself and didn't cry in front of anyone, apart from at his funeral where I cried and cried and cried and was made to feel like I wasn't allowed to do that by various people. One Aunt kept on turning around and glaring at me throughout the funeral because I kept doing that thing where you're trying to stop yourself from crying which comes out in really short, sharp gasps. Another Aunt told me at the wake that I needed to stop crying because my Grandad wouldn't want me to cry. Obviously no one would ever want anyone to cry, so telling someone to stop crying is quite a stupid thing because saying that to a person doesn't mean they're going to automatically stop crying and be completely fine. Because they're not. I guess this is why I kept as much as I could of everything I was feeling to myself as I was led to believe I shouldn't be sharing my emotions and that my emotions should be kept to myself. I think because I have never actually told anyone how I felt at the time, or still continue to feel, I am still trying to grieve for my Grandad. All of that grief from over the last five years has continued to build up and up inside me and I am not sure how much more of this grief building up I can take.

I think it is really important for us as a nation and as a world to start opening up more about the grief we are experiencing and about our emotions in general. Grief is something we will all go through in our lives at some point and I hate the fact that for the last five years I have felt like I have to hold my grief and emotions in, or at least wait until no one else is in the room, and keep a 'stiff upper lip'. This British thing of keeping a stiff upper lip is something I don't understand as we are all humans, not robots, and all have emotions and it is completely normal for us to show that we are happy, sad, angry, frustrated, etc. I understand that some people, like myself, find it hard to tell people how we are feeling, so if you feel that anyone you know may be struggling, you don't necessarily have to come outright and ask them about it. Instead you could just let them know you are there for them so if they ever do feel up to speaking to someone about what they are going through, they know they can come to you.

I know I struggle with opening up about how I am feeling in person, however I feel that writing posts like this really helps me in letting out even just the tiniest little bit of my emotions. But I know that many of you reading this may not have a blog where you can let out your emotions and may, like me, also struggle with opening up about your emotions in person. So I want to let you all know that you can always come to me about anything and everything and I will be there for you. My Twitter and Instagram handles are situated at the very top of the page. Or, if you click the contacts tap at the top of the page you can write out a message for me which will go straight to my email and I will be able to get back in touch with you via that. OR, there is the 'let's chat' at the bottom of the page if you are on a laptop/computer (which is in a message symbol if you are reading this on your phone or tablet), where you can directly send me a message and I will be able to respond back as soon as I am possibly able to.

Remember, grief affects all of us and you are never alone in any emotion you may be feeling.

Love Beth xx

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