PHOTOS TO HELP WITH GRIEF
I have had a fear of death, a fear of a loved one dying for so long. I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night with a fear that someone close to me has died and have to call them – I had it about my Nan for years, and then one day the fear came true. I lost my Nan – my best friend, the person I got my first tattoo with, the person I lived with every weekend as a child and the person I would live with when my first big relationship failed, and I crawled into her bed in the middle of the night at 28 years old. We spoke about everything including death, I used to say I could never imagine her dying, and she would say ‘don’t be stupid. We all die.’ I loved that about her – she was straight talking, blunt and hilarious – I miss her so much. Sometimes I still go to call her on my lunch break like I did most lunch times. Her house was my safe place – we would watch trash TV and order Chinese on a Saturday night, I miss the simplicity of those times, just knowing she was there. I would come home from London to just hang out with my Nan, she was simply fantastic.
We had a super close bond – a month before I was born my Grandad left my Nan after 25 years of marriage for another woman. I think her way of coping with that was to throw all of her emotions and energy into me and making my childhood amazing. As I got older we spoke about when he left – one day when I was in my 20s she got up, went to the ceiling beams and unearthed a tiny bit of paper that had the number of the woman my Granddad left my nan for written on it – having that information made her feel in control of something that had not been in her control. She was full of little secrets, stories and quirky behaviours.
In her final days – as the rest of the family nursed Nan during her final days, I had to take pictures of every part of the house – I needed them, I wanted to remember everything.
I needed pictures of it all – the creepy doll that my sister and I used to say was watching us sleep, the weird carpet, the pink bedroom, I can still smell the pillows on her bed when I look at the picture. I needed photos of the tiny paper secret she kept in the beams all those years. Nan also spent most of her time in her Garden – it was her love.
Having these photos somehow helps me relive the life I had with her in that house. I’m so glad I have them.
I miss you every day Nan.
Below is a photo diary of the final days with her. Photos of how she left the home that we all loved, and also our final moments as a family in that home.
The final days we took it in turns to stay at Nan’s – we spent many hours there, she was loved very much. I had a strange feeling when she died – I was so close with her I had a sense of calmness, I had no guilt about how much time and love I gave her, we spoke almost every day and I knew how much she loved me, It sounds strange but I wasn’t as hysterically sad as I thought I’d be – I mean I was sad, and I still get pangs of sadness now and then, and wish I could have told her about my wedding and a million other big life things – but I know she’s watching somehow.
The final days
Death and grief are strange – for me having loads of photos helped me through, I am glad that I took so many.