• Alice Ridsdale

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Losing my Grandparents: A Loss I Still Haven’t Healed From

When I was eight years old, I lost my grandad. I felt like my whole world had come crashing down, and I couldn’t cope with the idea that I’d never see him again. I came home from school and found his stuffed gorilla teddy in my living room next to my crying grandma. I cuddled it all night, never wanting to let the scent of him go. I hadn’t been allowed to visit my grandad in the hospital, and I was angry with him for not wanting me there. At the time, I thought he just didn’t want to see me, but as I got older, I understood that he only wanted me to remember him as his healthy, happy self.

I remember most of the funeral, how I cried before we even reached the church, how I couldn’t bring myself to stand up and sing hymns with everyone, and how I seemed to be the only one still crying at the wake. My mum told me that people were celebrating his life and remembering all of the good memories they had, but at eight I just couldn’t understand how I would ever feel better and be able to talk about him the way everyone else did. Of course, they were still crying and just as heartbroken as me, but they knew how to hide it.

For a long time, I was angry that all of my friends still had their grandad. They would tell stories about days out, seeing them at the weekend, and they’d always show up to school events. Even though I still had my grandma, it didn’t feel right without him. I often found myself, even at that young age, asking what I had done to deserve losing him. I thought that it was my fault, and I would have arguments in my head about all of the times I passed on opportunities to visit, or the moments when I was being a typical child and didn’t want to talk to him for no real reason other than me having a strop. I told myself that things had to be different with my grandma, because I couldn’t face losing her too.

Then, on my fifteenth birthday, it happened all over again. I lost my grandma, and I was sure that I could physically feel my heart breaking. Even though I was older, I was still convinced that I had done something wrong in the world, and that this was my karma. I went out with my friends and felt guilty the whole night. I came home and cried, telling myself that now my grandma would think I didn’t care about her and was living my life as normal. At this point in my life, I gave up trying with a lot of things. I didn’t care about school, how I looked, or going out with my friends. Despite being told that my grandma would want me to carry on and be happy, I just couldn’t do it.

Her funeral was the same as my grandad’s, and I remember thinking that life was unfair and wondering why this had happened to me. After my grandad passed, she became my best friend. She moved into the house a few doors away from our own, and I would spend hours with her planning day trips, holidays and sometimes just sitting and drawing whilst she read a book. As I got older, our time spent together was less, but I always knew she was there, and I made sure to check on her.

Finding out that she had gone changed my life. I still struggle with the loss of my grandparents, despite how long it’s been. I would give anything to see them again, and I know my life would be so different if I had more time with them. But I also now know that I can’t blame myself as death is just another part of life. I try and remember the amazing times I spent with them, and the love they showed me every single day. I still cry when I think about them and losing them is something that I haven’t been able to deal with on my own, but slowly, it does get easier. Grief is different for everyone, and when I was told that I would benefit from grief counselling, I felt silly as these deaths happened years ago, and yet I still couldn’t cope with the loss. Then I realised that that shows the impact they had on my life, and just how much love I had for them. Still now I don’t want to feel like I’m letting them go, and I when I’m missing them, I know that it’s okay to cry and to talk to the sky imagining that they can hear me. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without them, and although I hate that they had to leave me, I’ll never forget all of the love they showed me and the amazing times we got to share.

-Kaya Afflick



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