Grief

Death, and similarities.

by Veronica on December 27, 2013

in Evelyn,Grief

The hardest thing about my grandmother dying, if you ignore the loss of our matriarchal support system, is that I can see her in my children and she is not here to see herself in them.

Evelyn Kathleen was named after both Nathan’s grandmother (Evelyn) and my grandmothers (Lyn and Kathleen), and I can see them in her. Especially my grandmother Lyn.

Death is a multi-layered thing. There is grief and grieving, loss and missing. It changes, warps and moves, and sometimes I am still struck low by just how much I miss her.

Our Christmas was low key. Original plans fell out of the window when all three children fell sick just before the big day, so we cancelled and stayed home. It was a good decision, albeit a hard one to have to make. The children spent a lot of time doing nothing, and being unwell.

Evelyn’s eyes are finally settling on the colour they will be. A piercing blue green, I see my grandmother in them. Same colour, same curls. And maybe, you think I am looking extra hard, because she died too soon and missed this third great-grandchild of hers. Maybe you’re right.

But then I see photos of Nan as a baby, and I know I’m not wrong.

I miss her, a lot.

Christmas is hard when your family is missing giant parts of itself.

I asked Mum today if she would hunt up the photos of Nan as a baby and send them to me so I could share them.

Evelyn

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We think the final photo is our Aunty Joan holding Nan. My grandmother, Kathleen is on the right in the second photo. Joan was her sister.

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Bittersweet Spring

by Veronica on August 30, 2013

in Evelyn,Grief

It’s nearly Spring and I am holding on by the skin of my teeth. I’ve been poking the fruit trees, hoping that my attention will make them bud and blossom faster. It’s not working. We filled two above ground gardens that Nathan made out of old water tanks. I planted beetroot, onions, chard and chamomile and thanked the previous owner for leaving his rubbish behind. Ruined water tanks make great gardens.

Evelyn has learned to screech like a banshee and she does this every time things don’t go her way. My baby is turning into a toddler, full of feelpinions and angst. She tried to breastfeed upside down, her hands clutching at my nipple and her body contorting into wonderfully strange positions.

Oh I thought. Is this where we’re up to? Upside down breastfeeding and biting. I remember this.

Nostalgia filled me briefly, for these moments with Amy, when she was small and her opinions were small also. What shoes to wear, what cup she wanted, whether carrots or apples were better. Now I am traversing new terrain, fielding questions like “Is it better to be skinny?” and “Why are some people so mean?” and “Why do things have to die?”

No and I don’t know and it hardly seems fair, does it.

My grandmother’s cat died, on the road that has claimed too many of my animals. All the fencing in the world won’t keep the road from impinging on my life and here we are, another animal down, yet again. I felt guilty for my relief that she was dead, for the calm that came over the other cats. She was a bitchy cat, prone to purposely swiping at your face just for looking at her. Now she’s gone and I’m vaguely sad because it feels like the connections to my grandmother are slipping away, slowly and surely.

Evelyn’s hair curls and reminds me of a photo taken of my grandmother at the same age. I wonder how far the similarities will carry and it’s bittersweet to see Evelyn looking like this.

Spring is coming and the emotion I pushed down in the depths of Winter is coming with it, but that’s okay. I can deal with anything when there are blossoms, a baby who wants to breastfeed upside down and the warmth of sunshine on my skin.

Evelyn 13 months

 

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Farewell Kathleen

by Veronica on May 4, 2013

in Grief

My great-grandmother passed away early yesterday morning after a short illness. She will be dearly missed.

Nan and Evelyn

Go in peace Nan.

 

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Cancer can go fuck itself

by Veronica on April 11, 2013

in Cancer,Grief

If I was any kind of popular blogger, I’d be doing something called vagueblogging today. It would be all woe is me, I’m all sad, things are hard, love me please. But I’m a crappy blogger and I hate vagueblogging and vaguebooking and any kind of vagueness that doesn’t come with an excuse of I was awake all night with my baby/kitten/goat/lover.

(That’s a goat, OR a lover, not a goat lover, because that’s illegal.)

It’s my grandmother’s birthday today and I am all woe is me, sadness and dark. She would have been 68, except fuck cancer. Fuck cancer, man. Cancer is a bastard thing, tearing families apart and leaving wounds in its wake.

Cancer.

Fuck cancer.

 

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It feels a bit like sacrilege for a chocolate lover like myself to suggest that I don’t enjoy the holiday that encourages gifting of chocolate, but I don’t. I don’t like Easter.

Once upon a time, Easter was right up there as my favourite holiday, tied with my birthday and Christmas. As an older child, my Grandmother used to rent a beach house with a few of her friends and we would spend the Easter holidays on the beach. I have fond memories of communal Easter breakfasts of hot cross buns and waking up to find the house scattered in chocolate.

Inevitably, some years, Easter would land on my Grandmother’s birthday and we would celebrate doubly, often with seafood, family, and the never-ending supply of Red Tulip eggs. There was laughter and love and a general joy in the celebration of all things chocolate.

Then came cancer, and the slow slide down into death. Watching someone die is both more and less dramatic than you think it’s going to be. There is a privilege in witnessing the passing of someone, along with the inevitable realisation that the moment will be forever imprinted upon your brain.

Now Easter just feels like the beginning of my season of Sad. The slow slide down, remembering how we passed these moments four years ago (celebration, love, laughter, the knowledge of death hanging over our heads) and how we passed the moments to come.

Sometimes it feels like my sadness is an honour. It is an honour to love someone so much that the hole they leave in your life will never be full again. But sometimes my sadness is a weight, a giant millstone around my neck, reminding me that we’re missing someone, that she is missing everything and that nothing will ever be the same again.

I don’t like Easter anymore, because all I can remember is the Easter before she died, and all I want is for the next three months to pass me by quickly, filled as they are with painful anniversaries.

Tomorrow, the Easter Bunny will bring my children eggs and chocolate and their excitement is not quite enough to soothe my shattered soul. I will sit with them and eat chocolate, and I will remember exactly what we’re missing this holiday.

Easter will never be the same again.

 

 

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