I returned home on Wednesday evening and it was so good to be back home with my children, though tough to be so helpless and unable to do anything with them.
I still didn’t feel 100% and on top of that a certain part of my female anatomy were rather engorged and sore. The midwife told me they would be preparing to breastfeed, and that they may remain sore and require anti-inflammatories to reduce the swelling. This was a slight blow. I had wondered if this would happen, but hoped that because I was still early on in pregnancy gestation, I would be spared the physical and emotional kick in the teeth of milk coming in, with no baby to give it to. Apparently not.
It’s now Friday and I am very emotional for several reasons.
- I am still bed bound and feeling poorly – and with it, ever so slightly sorry for myself
- It is exactly a week since Arran was born
- It is the day of my Granddad’s funeral who passed away a month ago today
Granddad with some of his brood 🙂
I was due to be attending my Granddad’s funeral but as I am unable to stand for more than a few minutes, flying to the UK would have been near on impossible, and detrimental to my recovery. I also wonder if it would have all been a little too emotional for me following the past fortnight’s events.
I hoped to perhaps record myself singing or do something else fitting to celebrate my Granddad’s life in our own way, but the side effects of the blood patches I’d had that week were debilitating and limited my ability to do very much at all. My Dad wrote the eulogy for my Granddad and emailed it to me in the hope I would read it today, during whatever tribute we decided upon.
As 1335 approached, the time Arran was born, emotions consumed me. My husband and I hugged as we mourned our loss together and questioned why our precious gift was taken from us, and what we would do to remember him. We discussed our plans for Arran’s celebration ceremony next week; the planting of Arran’s tree, the helium balloons, the bench and the solar powered stars that would illuminate his memory each night. We also decided to have a little sign made reading “Arran’s Tree” to place in the ground next to the Crab Apple we’ve chosen for him. That place in the garden would be sacred, just as Arran will always be to us.
My Granddad’s funeral was starting at 1345 UK time. I opened the eulogy my Dad had emailed me and read it with my husband. We laughed through most of it, at the mischievous accounts of my Granddad’s youth and his childlike influences on my Dad and his siblings as they grew up. I smiled warmly at the recognition of his selflessness and generosity. Just as we shared the same birthday, my Grandad and I shared the same childlike outlook and pleasures for the simpler things in life.
I read that all of the grandchildren would sing “Dan, Dan the lavatory man” which is a silly rhyme my Granddad taught us all as kids, and which my sister and I actually sang to him whilst ill and in an induced coma at hospital, shortly before he passed. The family would also perform a rendition of the Cuckoo Song, a song composed by my Grandad and performed by my family many years ago. This bought a rather large lump to my throat as one of my earliest memories is of the family congregating in a bedroom of a flat (I believe was my mum and dad’s flat) performing the cuckoo song. My Grandad was there, my aunty was on the recorder, my uncles were on their guitars and I was there with my cousins. It’s a very happy memory, but how I wish I could be there today with my family, to join them as they pay tribute to my Grandad with this song.
I’m so glad I got to see my Granddad in the days before he grew his wings. I’m so happy the boys got to say goodbye and my Grandad and I got to say “I love you.” And I know my Granddad will take good care of my Arran. Hopefully he will show him to be resourceful and useful with his hands and teach him how to play and love life with no limits, just as my Granddad did.
Although unable to do very much, I decided to drag myself off the sofa and with a heavy head and an even heavier heart, go out into the garden and take in the beauty and the life that thrived out there. The sun beamed upon my face, and hurt my eyes which were stinging slightly from my tears. I soaked it up and breathed it in, and it filled me an energy I’d not felt in weeks. Walking down the garden I was grateful for the birds chirping, the bees buzzing and the breeze against my cheek. I relished the sensation of the grass beneath my feet and smiled as the goats bleated and gathered at the fence excitedly; so pleased to see me. I admired the daffodils which had appeared in beautiful bunches everywhere and the flowers and blossoms sprouting on the trees. I stood in the spot where Arran’s tree would be planted and took in the magnificence of the view between me and the horizon. It was perfect. And with the little energy I had left, my husband took me to Arran’s tree, sheltered from the elements on the patio under our grape vine. The last time I had seen it, it was just twigs and branches. Now it had buds where its flowers and fruits would soon grow. The garden was alive. The World was alive. And with it my heart skipped as I was reminded that life goes on, just as the memory’s of those we love go on. And it is up to us to keep them alive.
I retired to the couch and to the relief of the horizontal position I had spent the last seven days in, but I was so glad for the five minutes of garden therapy I had just urged myself to undertake. And I was so grateful for the peace I’d found there.
Soon I will teach my children “Dan Dan the lavatory man” and every time we sing it, we will think of the cheeky chappy that was my Granddad (their Great Granddad).
And if I ever feel flat, or sad, or alone, I only need to really look around me to remind myself that love and life are everywhere, like the never ending, reassuring hug, song or smile and heartfelt memories of loved ones no longer with us.
“I am the gentle breeze upon your face, the twinkle in the stars, I am the sudden ray of sunshine that warms your broken heart”
Grandad, we love you xxxxx