I’ve been learning a lot about emotional resilience the last few weeks. Things didn’t work out as planned with our rescue dog, my teenage daughter has been through some heart ache and my health has been terrible. These events are all equally difficult to handle in their own ways, but they cannot compare to the pain of watching someone you love grieve after losing someone special.
My husband Eddie is my world. He really is everything to me; he’s my best friend, lover, confidant and carer, and I would do anything for him. Last week, one of the most important people in his life – Grandma – passed away in hospital. He got to see her just before she died, something that I will be eternally thankful for.
Grandma was almost 90 years old and her health had been declining steadily for the last few years. This lady grew up during World War II, she raised her own children and then took in her grandsons (my Eddie and his brother) and raised them. She nursed her beloved husband Arthur, never leaving his side, until he died from Emphysema. This amazing lady fought to keep her independence as she grew older – it was only a couple months ago that she gave up her keep fit classes – and still lived in the home she raised her family in. She was a remarkable woman.
Eddie and Grandma were very close. She would often tell me “I know I’m not meant to have a favourite, but my Edward is special”. You see, Eddie’s childhood wasn’t the easiest but Grandma was his anchor in the midst of the stormy times. She has been his constant support, his loudest cheerleader and her unconditional love has been with him all the days of his life. Grandma was such a wonderful woman to so many people, to my husband she was so much more than a Gran.
As you can imagine, it’s been horrible since she passed. At first Eddie went into shock; he had literally just returned from seeing her in the hospital when he got the call to say she had gone. I was ready for tears, shouting, wailing even….. but instead he just carried on as normal. We told the kids and comforted them as best we could, then Eddie got on with his own things like nothing had happened. I think it finally sunk in through that first night, because the next morning the tears really did start.
It’s been just over a week now. His grief is so heartbreaking to watch. He isn’t weeping and wailing; rather he’s struggling to accept that she’s gone, in his head he knows that she has died but he still finds himself thinking he needs to call her or arrange to go for a cuppa. I guess when someone has been part of your life for so long, it will take time to accept their departure. And the first stage of grief is denial after all, so I know it won’t last forever.
The funeral is just under a week away; and while it’s a time of remembrance and closure, it also brings it’s own challenges for my husband. Strained family relations, a crippled wife, a long journey on public transport…… all these things stack up on him one by one. I hope he doesn’t break apart underneath it all.
As for me, I don’t know what to do to help him or how to ease his pain at her passing. I wake up in the night and hold him as he cries, I sit and listen as he tries to make sense of his feelings, I share precious memories of her with him when he wants to talk about her life. What else can I do but be here and love him? What else should I be doing? Those aren’t rhetorical questions; if you have any good ideas I would love to hear them – because I have never felt so powerless in our almost 16 years together as I do now.
Have you supported a loved one through their grief before? Or perhaps you’re in the same boat right now? If you’re in need of support, or you have any helpful suggestions then please comment below. I would appreciate any help we’re given!
Take care, hold your dear ones close and let them know how precious they are to you xxx