I’ve been fortunate enough to know five of my Great Grandparents, but that beam of good luck has come with a dark side of its own because, it has meant that in turn I’ve had to attend five family funerals. With the fifth being just over one week ago. And each time, the grief has hit me in a different way.
But this time, I was both lucky and unlucky enough to have spent twenty-three years getting to know my Grandma. So, this time it hit me like a tonne of bricks.
Not on the day that we received the news. Not after returning home. Not a week later. In fact, it didn’t actually hit me until I walked up to the front of the crematorium to read my eulogy. It was then, as I stood looking out at all of the different family members that sat before me, as I stood looking out at a room full of people who had, in some way or another, loved my grandma just as much as I loved her. It was then that my grief hit me.
And in that moment I felt sad, angry, hurt, happy, proud, bitter, lonely, lucky and guilty. In that moment I felt grief for the first time since my Grandma had died. But, in that moment I also wanted nothing more than to be able to get to the end of my speech. I both wanted and needed to pay tribute to a woman who has shaped my life, and me, in so many ways. I wanted to celebrate the life of my Grandma – a woman who taught me to be creative, to love the outdoors and to cherish my family in the same way that she did. To a woman who filled my childhood with a wealth of wonderful memories. To a woman who was inspiring in everyway, who always had a smile on her face and who had such a blunt sense of humour that she always had everyone around her howling in laughter.
So, I stood infront of my family and started my eulogy with a quote from none other than Winnie the Pooh. I started it with the quote “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard”. And that sums it up perfectly. Because, while I am angry and upset at the moment, I know that I am lucky. Lucky to have not only met my Great Grandmother, but to have been able to spend so much time getting to know her. Afterall, not many people can say that. Let alone people my age.
So, while the reality is hard. Accepting that my Grandmother will never see me get married, or even meet the man I will spend the rest of my life with is horrible. Knowing that she won’t see where my career takes me, or meet my children is difficult. But knowing that I won’t ever be able to call someone Grandma again is heartbreaking. However, I know, albeit it deep down, that I am still lucky to have had so many wonderful years with my Grandma, years that have now given me a wealth of memories to look back on.
After-all, it is better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all…