When Your Heart Hurts

It is that time of year again that hurts my heart more than I can ever express. It is the time of year that my beautiful grandmother passed away. My heart at this time of year always feels heavy, and it is the same time that I start to think about all the things that we went through as a family and all the memories that we have. It also has me thinking about loss and more importantly grief.

Sadly, Chica lost her wonderful Grandmother this week, who was one of the most amazing women that I have had the privilege to be in her company. Not only was she part of the Land Army Girls, she raised wonderful children, found love a little later in life and also had the secret to a long and happy life as she lived to 101 years old. That really is some going, and still looked absolutely wonderful on it.

I never understood what it is to see your best friend grieving, I now understand the pain that Chica experienced when she watched me go through it. It hurts your heart to watch your loved ones go through pain that you can’t stop, no matter how much you want to help. All you can do is try and be there and help where you can, looking after the kids, cuddles and being there with arm fulls of tissues.

Loss is such a hard thing to comprehend, I always laugh at when someone says to you “I’m so sorry for your loss”. I know it is the most common thing to say, in these circumstances, there really is nothing else to say. However, my first thought is, “well, I didn’t put them somewhere and forget to pick them up”. 

I think it is the finality of things that is the worst part of it, it is the fact that one moment they are there and the next just like that, they are gone, the last breath leaves their body and they go on their own journey to a place we can only surmise about. Everyone has their own opinion on what and where we go after death, and the reality is, who really knows? I am of the opinion that we are re-incarnated and that we come back sometimes a little wiser or to learn the lesson that we never fully understood the first time round. 

When my Nanny Bug passed away, I missed her death by a few minutes, they always say that they prefer to pass on their own, when they have seen and heard all the things that they need too and they are finally at peace. I remember entering the room and looking at her, she looked so beautiful, her face looked like the pain and the heartache had evaporated and she was finally free. I was praying that my Grandad was there to collect her and she could finally hold her one true love in her arms again and know that she was safe. 

I held her in my arms, the way that I always did and knew that what was to come would be one of the most painful things I would ever have to endure. Sadly due to circumstances Mama Lola was not there with me, she was in another hospital receiving treatment for suspected diverticulitis so we had all the drama of trying to get her half way across London so that she could see her mother. I spent the time whilst I was waiting for her to get the ok to leave the hospital she was in, with Nanny Bug, she was in that god awful hospital gown and her hair was not how she would have liked it and I knew she would not be best pleased if I let Mama Lola see her like that.

Throughout all of this I was not alone, I thank the universe that I had La La by my side whilst I was dealing with all of it and I will be eternally grateful for that, her love and her support through that time of my life held me up and without it I would have been a puddle on the floor. 

I had the most amazing hour on my own with Nanny Bug and got to do something that most grandchildren never get the chance to do, I washed and bathed her, moisturised her skin and changed her into her own night gown, I also put the curl in her hair and got to tell her all the last things that I wanted before I knew the inevitable would happen. 

My life with my Nanny Bug could not have been any closer, she was one of my best friends, my confident, my Nanny Bug and my protector, she held me from the day I was born and I held her as she made her journey to where ever she was going. I’m my then 28 years, I never left her side, we still slept in the same bed when I stayed with her, laughing till the early hours of the morning, eating biscuits and putting cucumbers on our eyes, till we gave up and ate them too. 

She taught me how to love without boundaries and no matter how much people hurt you, still love them because that is what they are needing and looking for. She taught me how to do my first handstand, cook a curry without using curry powder and how to crawl up the hallway to bed after a bottle of sherry. Her love and dedication to Mama Lola and I knew no bounds, all it knew was love, light and laughter.

After she had her stroke, we thought we had lost her then, but because of the fighter the she is, she made it, not all the way back to the 27 inch skirt and the high heals but good enough to have her personal hair stylist and make-up artist (Mama Lola) attend to her needs each day. We called her our Duchess because that is what she was and continues to be, the Queen of our hearts. 

This post started out talking about grief and the pain that it causes, it is turning out to be a celebration of what wonderful people we have in our lives and the precious moments that we have with them despite what dire circumstances that we may find ourselves in.

Life decided to hand Mama Lola and I one of the most precious gifts we have ever been given, we had six months of living together like three little women on the prairie, looking after Nanny Bug, and in those six months we laughed so hard it made our cheeks hurt. Such a precious gift that I am so privilege to say that I had the opportunity to be given and one of the best six months of my life, we were home and we were all together. There was noting but loved that radiated from that house despite what we were dealing with on a daily basis.

I think that is why the grief hurts so much, it hurts because we were so in love with each other, the three of us, we were grandmother, mother and daughter, that had three lives that were so intertwined with each other that no one could bare to be apart. When Nanny Bug left she broke both our hearts, but I know she wouldn’t have left without her having too, by that point her body was just too weak and she had a better place to be. 

The time after someone you love passes, is a blur, it is filled with funeral preparations, organising family and trying to make sense of the crazy world with a missing piece that you have just been plunged into. You don’t get chance to process what you are feeling because so much of your day is consumed with tasks that you have to complete but never want to do. 

But if you are open to it, the strangest things can happen, in those days after. I remember the day of the funeral, Mama Lola and I were getting ready and the flowers were all being sent to the house for Nanny Bug, We were standing at the front door, curlers in and dressing gowns on, when all of a sudden, slam and the door closed. That was it, we were locked outside, looking like two strange women and there was nothing we could do. Florists were turning up, cars were passing by, we had no phone and we were against the clock. All we could do was laugh and laugh hysterically, it was Nanny Bugs way of lightening the mood because only us two could get into so much trouble without her. Just for a moment, it lifted us, we knew she was still there and still holding our hand.

If you think I will be able to give you the answers to grief and the secret of how to get over someone you love passing away, I can’t. I can’t, because I’m still grieving for the person I loved so much and will continue to do so as each day passes, when I experience things that I want to share with her or the big things in my life that she is not there for. Each day my heart heals a little but the pain of missing her never goes away. They say time is a great healer, and they are right when they say that, but it is your approach to it that also makes a difference. For me, it is her being in another room, and “oh, I’ll tell Nanny Bug that when I see her”.

Back Camera
Nanny Bug 18th April 1925 – 21st September 2013

It is coming up to her five year anniversary that she has been missing from our lives and it is something that will always be with us, haunting the month of September. We re-live the things that have happened like a record remember dates and events. But, strangely Mama Lola and I don’t talk to each other about them now. We talk about the fun and the memories that we have, and when we are alone, we go into those dark time and a silent tear leave our eyes. We cry alone and laugh together, but no matter what ever the future has in store, we were blessed with one of the most magical women in our life and forever will be my Nanny Bug.

As this is a very special post for me, I want to write a little something else…

Nanny Bug, thank you for making me strong, for giving me courage and for making me brave in times when I thought all was lost. Thank you for teaching me how to love, and how to make the ones I love feel special each and every day. I love and miss you so very much, I miss our conversations, the laughter, the mischief we used to cause but most of all I miss your smile.

I love you, more, more, more


Little Minx

(The Girl)


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