On 2nd November 2010, I returned to my desk after a meeting to find two missed calls from my Mother. I called back straight away.
Me: Hi Mum, are you ok?
Mum: I'm ok...but you're Grandmother isn't...
Haemorrhaging had unexpectedly occured in my Grandmother's brain, and she had suffered from a lot of internal bleeding. She died two hours later.
So many people have tried to describe how it feels when you're told someone you care about has died, but few rarely come close. It may seem like an odd point of reference, but I always thought that this quote from the children's book “Lemony Snickett's A Series of Unfortunate Events” sums it up best:
It is a curious thing, the death of a loved one. It's like walking up the stairs to your bedroom in the dark and thinking there is one more stair than there is. Your foot falls down through the air and there's a sickly moment of dark surprise.
Add that winded feeling you get when you've been hit in the stomach to it, and I think you get pretty close.
When I was told that my Grandmother had died, I wasn't sure exactly how to feel. While I instantly felt that gut wrenching mix of shock and sadness, a part of me felt a quiet happiness. Before you go thinking that I am a terrible human being, let me explain: for the last 40 years of her life, my Grandmother had been a professional spiritualist. This meant that she was able to communicate with spirits, and she did so every day (she maintained at all of our dead relatives regularly sat on her sofa at once. They would all merge into one, and she was only able to tell how many were there by counting their feet.).
Now, I know there are a lot of sceptics out there. You may not agree or believe that spiritualism is real or even possible, but it doesn't matter – my Grandmother did. More than that, it made her happy. Unlike a lot of people, my Grandmother had no fear of death at all. In her later years, she even looked forward to it, because to her it meant that she would be reunited with all of her loved ones and that her spirit would live on.
I'm sorry if this post was not what you've come to expect from Swell Vintage, but I wanted to make a little tribute to my Grandma. She was a real character with a generous heart. I will miss her enormously, but I know that somewhere she is happy and at peace. This is what she always looked forward to, and I hope that she and all of my past relatives are having one hell of a party somewhere.