… I would say, that I didn’t expect the loss of my Nanny to affect me.
It’s not that I didn’t know her. I knew her so well I avoided her at all costs.
And like an ex, when you go to such lengths it usually means they meant something big and unerasable. Something that automatically reserves them a seat in your mind.
I thought it would more-so hurt those around me and perhaps, I would feel some kind of ricochet. Her death not sudden nor unexplainable.
However, today there was an unmistakable heaviness that was applied to everything.
I only found myself feeling slightly better when I had my headphones on full-blast. This included every room I went into, on walks or even whilst eating. It was like someone forgot to switch on my internal rhythm, making the day feel stretched out and baggy.
As the day went on, I found I couldn’t bear to be alone with this feeling but also, I didn’t have the energy to talk or say something, anything that would make any kind of sense. As yesterday my Nanny died and that to me doesn’t make sense.
If I’m being honest… I would say she definitely wasn’t a woman that filled me with joy or life lessons. She never gave me a proper chance as a child or adult, having been jealous of how I was the female apple of dad’s eye. However, I can say she was unlike any woman I had ever met. Very protective of her kids; I remember she use to call my dad every day after mum left, for at least a year. Now I think about it, some of the best parts of him were her.
Today he had told me, his dad only calls him when he wants something. I wanted to say “me too” but couldn’t pull the trigger. It would be too cruel to be honest.
As I continued to wear the unexpected grief, more questions wriggled around unanswered. I also noticed over this long day that none of my cousins/extended family reached out.
The only sign of shared loss I had to read on my cousin’s Facebook wall, as she painted an intimate portrait to thousands, while conveniently disregarding how ashamed Nanny made us feel about ourselves. It’s funny how grief changes the narrative for some and makes it clearer for others.
If I’m being honest there came a point where I had to stop reading, as the post was all too reminiscent of how we would fake smile our way through Christmas. How, despite sharing the same hair colour, picture frames and fair complexions we were all so uncomfortable around each other.
Probably because our value was weighed since birth via how much Nanny liked us. We had to fit her ideal mould, e.g. polite, quiet, successful, obedient. If we were a twin our value was doubled. If we threw tantrums at age 4, we were still a spoiled brat come 15. She and Grandad were merciless with their judgements, with the cover for family gossip being ‘we care’, however just not enough to be supportive.
She was a weird mix, Nanny. Strong, always on the go, highly vocal and dominant in the household yet constantly belittled by the man she invested her whole life into.
She taught me the value of my own family circle as a means of survival on Christmas and Easter, against her own. It was infuriating to say the least. I remember every Christmas promising myself I would not return the following year and Nanny would say,
“Come back next year – promise?”
“Why?” I wanted to ask. However I didn’t, as even in adulthood my childish reflex made me swallowed my words quicker than I could spit them out.
Having said all of this, I still don’t really get why this weight had settled inside me. I have a feeling the funeral next week would only make this heavier. I don’t know what to do at a funeral; what to be.
Do we be honest?
Do we put her on a pedestal? Do we pray?
Having always put on a show for her, I don’t know if for her last event I should do the same
simply close the book, put on my adult heels and walk away.
Was grief a possible way out; a door to leave through…