Grief is selfish

Photo by Irina Anastasiu from Pexels

I have been preparing for this for a week. I thought I would be OK.

Shocker, I am not.

My family is very British… ‘stiff upper lip’ is a phrase that I heard a lot growing up. They should have given up with me. I have all the emotions they aren’t outwardly expressing.

Today, my auntie passed away. She would have been 105 in one month and 2 days. So although it isn’t unexpected, it was a surprise.

Although she was tiny, she was a toughie. It was only recently that I could see her getting weaker, but still remaining feisty. My dad told me: ‘She will be giving the pearly gates hell!’ I kinda wish I could see that.

She was always there, always this legend in our family. The true matriarch. She wasn’t perfect, but she was herself and a person of her time.

I am going to miss her passing comments on my weight (sometimes positively, often negatively, never unfairly); my clothes (‘Did you really choose to wear that?’); my job (thank god for this one!); or any current boyfriend (‘Please can you get married, I want to go to a wedding…. but find another one…’).

Luckily, she approved of my job and I know she was proud that I had gone into a profession that she understood and that I was taking the opportunity to live abroad. She loved travelling, and some of her stories were just incredible. Even though you would think Hitler personally killed her sister, rather than an asthma attack.

I hope she knew I loved her, even though I couldn’t get in to see her.The last time I hugged her was July, before I moved to Norway. When I was home at Christmas, I drove and sat outside her house; waving through the window on many occasions, because I was too scared that I could test positive from being on the plane and give her this bastard disease.

She lived through the Spanish Flu, she wasn’t going to let Covid get her! And thankfully, it didn’t.

What I am struggling with most, is that she was always at everyone else’s funeral. She held my hand at both my grandparents’ funerals, proudly declaring, ‘I’ll be next!’

But because of stupid Covid, she won’t be able to have the send-off she deserves. It will be restricted. And I am unable to get there.

I know that this isn’t about me. It is about you. But I want to be there, for you. I want to be there with my family, celebrating the wonderful life you led… and imagining you mocking me as they get my name wrong during the eulogy AGAIN.

I know you lived a good, long life.

I know you are in a better place.

I know you were ready to go… and you made this very clear for quite a long time.

I know you passed peacefully.

I know these are all things we should be thankful for because lots of people are not as fortunate.

But, it doesn’t mean I won’t miss you.

It doesn’t mean I won’t be sad.

It doesn’t mean the tears falling down my face are any less worthy.

It means you meant a lot to me and I ache for your loss.

I love you.

Please keep watching over me.

And give everyone up there a big hug.

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Lexie Mathers

Freelance writer and editor. Travel. Lifestyle. Education. I write personable and easy-to-read content.