And Then You Were Gone… Just Like That. And My World Changed Forever

It’s a heartbreaking moment; a period in life where you feel all hope is lost.  This dark cloud of grief consumes you and you feel a piece of your heart is gone forever the moment your grandchild dies.

It was just another ordinary day; Saturday and I was doing my usual chores when the phone call came that began the events that would change my life forever.

It was my daughter screaming at me down the phone ’Get here now I need you we are at the hospital’, then she began to not make sense and I grabbed my keys and ran to the car.

That journey went on for a lifetime, I must have hit every red light, it wasn’t until I arrive at the hospital that I realized I was still in my pj’s and I didn’t care!

Trying to find ICU was a nightmare, but nothing prepared me for the sight that met my eyes through the glass wall when I first saw my precious grandson covered in tubes, surrounded by machines and my daughter so white she was almost transparent.

There were so many doctors and nurses all busy trying to save my grandson’s life yet I still didn’t know what was wrong.

I remember grabbing a nurse’s arm and telling her I was his grandmother and could she please tell me what was going on. She led me to a side room and explained that he has meningitis and they were fighting to get it under control.

I said to her but he had a cold, that is what the doctor said that fucking doctor told my daughter she was an overprotective mother, she just looked at me and said we’re doing all we can.

As a mother, I wanted to take my daughter’s pain away and as a grandmother, I would have willingly changed places with my beautiful boy. How could he have meningitis he had been vaccinated, but that’s a conversation for another day!

Time moved so slowly, watching the machines doing their job.

His chestnut hair glowed in the sunlight streaming in from the window high in this palace of hope.

His skin pure white yet glowed with the love he wanted to give the one pure soul in the room, his mother.

His beautiful mother holding his hand so he wouldn’t feel alone.

He fought hard, the machines working to ensure he could be with us for as long as possible.

But his body knew a different path lay ahead and he spent his last few minutes with us making sure his mother who gave him life, who taught him all she could in such a short space of time understood that your goodbye was just for her.

Then all the alarms going off was deafening, my daughter being pushed to my direction and us both being pushed out the door. The medical teams worked so hard, but it just wasn’t enough and as I held my daughter, I heard a doctor say ‘Time of death… And I couldn’t hear the rest for my daughter’s screams.

It’s true what they say that the following days blur into one. The vicious onslaught of arranging a funeral when all you want to do is curl up into a ball and die. The constant phone calls, cards of condolence, or being told if there is anything we can do just ask.

Then the day of the funeral arrives and I so dearly wished I could run away, but I couldn’t. My daughter needed me more than ever and I had to put all my grieving and feelings aside, yes, I had lost my grandson, but she had lost her son, she carried him inside her, they shared blood and heartbeats for 9 months and now it was all gone.

We are all on this grieving cycle and just as you think you have got past one bit and can cope a bit better another part of the cycle hits and you feel yourself falling back down.

It’s the anger that bothers me the most, it’s a wave of deep-rooted anger that at times makes me not even recognize myself, and I shut myself away from people for fear I could alienate them.

I guess that’s all part of grieving, in fact I know it is. I’ve done the crying until there is nothing left. The pain is all-consuming and it takes its toll.

I go every day to see my daughter until she tells me she doesn’t need me to anymore, I watch her pain, her tears, her silences and wish I had the power to take it all away.

We take it one day at a time, sometimes one hour at a time, and accept that we will get through this, it’s just going to take a very long time. After all, grief is not an enemy to be vanquished, but a necessity to be experienced as a result of having loved.

I found a quote recently that did help me get some perspective by Dr. Alan Wolfelt

“when a grandchild dies, grandparents grieve twice. They mourn the loss of the child, and they feel the pain of their own child’s suffering.”

That pretty much nailed it down and explained why I’m feeling so angry, as my daughter is suffering and I’m helpless to make it stop.

Now as a family we face our first Christmas without him and I have no idea how we will get through it but go through it we must.

I was having a bad day recently and a friend who had also lost a grandchild told me there will be many firsts to face, each one as painful as the last. I was extremely grateful to her for being so honest with me, it was a truth I knew was coming but just didn’t want to face.