It’s a quick slide down into winter. The mornings and my fingers ice over, frozen solid, moving slowly. We wait for the frost to burn off, the fog to burn off, the wood in the fireplace to burn off. Life is cold chaos and we’re moving through treacle again.
I tell myself: No. Not this year. You are too busy to be sad this year.
But there it is. The sadness cannot be willed away as we slide into June, the icy runway slick under our feet. A little voice in the back of my head sings, it’s June again, June again, we all know everything is terrible in June.
The vacuum cleaner breaks, and the woodbox of the fireplace splits a little further. It’s June again and everything is breaking around me.
It’s been six years this year, since my grandmother died. Since we walked the year-long cancer journey to its close, a whirlwind of appointments and hope and treatments stopping dead in a palliative care room in South Hobart. One half of my support team cut free forever, as the masses within her lungs and bones shut her body down forever.
Almost a year (eleven days, eleven days, eleven days and a few hours and how are you feeling Veronica? how is that ice in your bones today?) to when we stood around her, a circle of family and love and light and watched her go, the world a lesser place for her passing, a better place for her living.
A part of me will forever be standing in that room, watching her die. Over and over again.
The wound is less raw, but the missing never fades. Grief is an interesting concept, a fluidity to the sadness and the tears. Maybe you’ll feel differently tomorrow, maybe you won’t.
My children grow ever bigger, and my grandmother isn’t in this world to watch them grow. That is a tragedy all on its own.
We were five generations of women, then five generations, missing our fourth, then three. Three generations of women left. It seems unfair. There was so much family here and now … nothing. Maybe that’s the worst bit about death, it cuts families up into pieces, slack hack slice. You over there, you here, now there.
People don’t like to talk about death and dying. There is a discomfort about it, a recognition of our own mortality. If they died, then we might die and everyone dies OH GOD.
The grief of my grandmother’s passing irrevocably changed my life. Set adrift, missing 50% of my matriarchal life support, awash in a sea of grief.
It’s June again. The ground and my fingers are frozen equally, as a clock ticks down the days to Spring inside my head.
Six years, six years. Here we are.