Today marks a year since the greatest loss in my life to date and the most grief I have ever felt. 12 months since we said goodbye. A year since I realised how ill you really were. I knew but I didn’t believe that we would be separated so soon.
Nan, I get it. I really do. Your body didn’t need to fight anymore. As much as I didn’t want to lose you. I hated seeing you pain more. You spent the last hours of your life surrounded by the people who love you. I had the opportunity to hold your hand and give your beautiful face a kiss for the last time while your eyes were open and you were able to look at me. And that means so so much.
Nan, I’m not going to lie, I was relieved when the nurse pronounced time of death. I was devastated, utterly heartbroken, completely stunned. But seeing your face after you passed away you looked like my Nan again. The pain left your face, you looked beautiful. I had never seen someone die before and I was scared, but looking at you through your last hours, knowing that you were uncomfortable I felt peace that leaving your pain behind was the right thing for you.
Yes, we wanted more time. No, we didn’t want you to leave us. But you were tired, you needed to rest. You needed a break from the immense pain you experienced every moment. We didn’t realise it at the time, Nan, but we knew you needed the break.
Nan, I know I didn’t participate in the funeral arrangements. I know I didn’t get involved but I didn’t know what I could do. I immersed myself in our babies and sorted things out for them. In my mind though, there was no alternative than to bring them to your funeral. You were as much a part of their life as you were mine. Besides, in my mind, funerals are a celebration of a life lived… they are a place for grief and joy to meet. Grief that we will no longer get to make more of the memories that bring us joy.
Nan, it’s been a year. In that year, so much has happened. So much I know you would have loved to have been a part of..
Anwen arrived and I firmly believe you played a part in her safe arrival. I firmly believe that you sit by her side and keep an eye on her. You would love her though, she’s another Seren. In fact, she could be Seren’s twin.
Enfys learned to walk. I know how proud of that you would have been. Garreth says she has your hair… we all say that she has your look when she’s unimpressed. I think she’s beginning to recognise you in a photograph – she does love Pappy T though, and your owls.
Macsen, oh what can I say about him? It’s been tough with him. He didn’t settle well into Nursery initially but after a year he seems to be making progress. His speech is coming on too… oh he’d make you laugh.
Seren is still as gorgeous as ever. I would say she was the one who was hit hardest. She thinks about you regularly and we talk about you all the time. She’s back horse riding again and loving every second of it.
Garreth is growing up too quickly. He’ll be 13 soon. Can you believe it? I can’t. It’s crazy, he’ll be thinking about his G.C.S.E. options this time next year. I hope I can guide him in the right direction.
Nan, I know that it has been a year. This is the last first. I love that phrase at the moment. We’ve celebrated all our birthdays without you; we’ve had your first wedding anniversary without you; the first Christmas, Mother’s Day, Easter. Officially, the last first is the anniversary of your death… 7.32pm on Wednesday 19th April 2017. It’s now 8pm on Thursday 19th April 2018.
Nan, we will continue to love you forever and we know that you will continue to be around us. I know you are as much a part of me as Mam is. I carry parts of you around in my body without even realising it.
Beth is a 30-something, self-employed Mum rediscovering her connection to British History and nature. Her loves include the discovery of knowledge, walking in the woods, and writing, among others. Beth is a Virtual Assistant at The Happy VA.