The Circle Line

E's Story - Grieving

My own experience with grief started when I was very young. At the age of seven I lost my
grandma on my mum’s side. As a strong constant in my childhood that was what I missed
most about her; her stable hugs and her no nonsense grandmotherly care that you could
always count on. I was very young to understand the sadness I was feeling, and my primary
feeling was of heartbreak for my own mum who kept it together immensely well, but still had
sad eyes. My experience was one of immense sadness tinged with confusion, rather than
anything else.

My grandmother on my dad’s side passed away only 18 months ago, and this loss
generated a different type of pain for me. We called her Baps, short for Bapaji, the Persian
name for your father’s mother and she was the queen of the Parsis. She lived in Hong Kong
but spent almost 5 months with us in the UK every year, alternating her time spent between
the houses of her three children who lived here. Her last visit started in March 2017. As
always she was a lovable pain, telling us off for having our nails too long, or our hair too dark
or our jeans too ripped. A few months went by quietly until one night in June she tripped or
slipped, I’m not quite sure what, and fell down the stairs. She suffered a heart attack and
broke her thigh bone in her left leg. I won’t go into detail but what followed was a very long
few months. Months of 5am trips to the hospital and then relief when she came home again,
stress when she wouldn’t listen to us and relief when she had a good day. Baps made it
back to Hong Kong the following March, an incredible feat for a lady of 83 years of age who
had been through what she had.

Sadly, she passed away the following July – only after witnessing her first grandchild’s
wedding and hearing her first great grandchild’s laugh. The anguish I felt was paralysing.
After a year of constant care, 24 hours a day I obviously missed her greatly but my primary
emotion was anger. I have no idea who I was angry at, or why, I just felt terribly resentful of
everyone and everything. This led to me pushing away my parents, those who were closest
to me at the time and who I had spent most of my time with since my Grandma first came
over from Hong Kong. I couldn’t give anybody else my emotional energy, I had no idea what
was draining me of it and I can honestly say I reacted badly during this time. What helps is
the knowledge that although time doesn’t heal everything, it does make you stronger and
therefore more able to know your emotions, and live with them. The support I had of loved
ones, and the support I knew I was giving them was invaluable to me.

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