A Year of Firsts

Earlier on this year I lost one of the best women in the world. After a battle with cancer my Nanna passed away in July.

I made the journey to Scotland to see her while she was ill in hospital, but I arrived a little too late. She passed away unexpectedly in the early hours of my first full day in Scotland and I didn't get to see her.

She was the only one who knew it was coming.

There are lots of way people deal with grief. It's something I have never had to process before so It's likely I have been through them all at different stages. I have screamed, I have cried until I hurt and I locked myself away. I Haven't exactly broadcast this information and is part of the reason I have hardly blogged this year. I didn't want to pretend like my life was all happy go lucky when in reality, it really wasn't. I pretty much avoided the internet. Even as I'm writing, I don't really know where this post is going, I just know that finally putting words out there is good. Accepting the fact that I'm really not OK is part of a new process I'm trying. I just hope the words make sense and aren't too much of a ramble.

I think the main focus is not a 'how to deal with loss' or anything like that, everyone always has their own experiences and techniques, I guess it's more of an overview of what is happening, what has happened and what is still to come. My mum put it so beautifully and told me that we are essentially having 'A Year of Firsts' - from the first day without her to the first anniversary.

Over the past few months. some of my 'firsts' have come and gone but there are so many more to come and I imagine they will be the worst.

Some firsts for you:

The First Day

The day my Nanna passed away was a series of emotions and also partly a void. Pretty much every negative emotion happened in one day.

I cried so much I wore myself out. I was furious with myself for not going up sooner.  I regret that the last time I spoke to her I told a lie (well, a white lie: She didn't know I was coming to see her and when she over heard my Grampy on the phone telling me not to tell her she obviously asked what was going on. I said 'nothing'. I lied).

Most of all, I hated how she was taken away.

How rude of the God damn universe.

Fuck you, 2016.

The First Time I Saw my Grampy Cry

Yeah. That was a thing and it killed me.

When we saw Grampy for the first time since we heard the news, he said 'sorry' as though he hadn't done enough. I helped him put my Nanna's clothes away (she would have told him off if he hadn't kept everything tidy). He started crying and called himself a 'silly sausage'.

Grampy's aren't supposed to cry. They're there to make you life, read you stories, kiss it and make it better when you've fallen over. They're the strong ones in a big scary world. Like the BFG. Just not on that day.

First Funeral

Interesting fact of the day, I had never been to a funeral before until this year when a friends passed in January (reiterating 'fuck you 2016' here). This time it was different. I was part of the family. I was in the procession in the Grandchildren car driving slowly behind my Nanna, people stood to let us pass, people cuddled us and said 'sorry for your loss' so much I couldn't stand to hear the words any more.

I hated every part of it. We tried to make things better by sharing nice stories and telling bad jokes. But it still felt like I was in a weird wormhole of sadness. It sucked. And I got mascara everywhere.

First Day Back at Work

I didn't really give myself enough time to grieve. This is probably why it's taken me so long to process it all. While I was in Scotland, I was still working until the day of the funeral. When I got back to England, I went straight back into the office the next day. I locked myself in the toilet and cried for a good twenty minutes. I had such a puffy face.

First Night Alone

I don't normally have any nights alone, when we were in Scotland I knew that my mum was in the next room and I love with my boyfriend so we're very rarely apart. My first night properly alone came on a day where Gary had gone to stay with a friend and I can guarantee that the nights are the worst. I didn't sleep at all.

The morning Nanna passed away, I was woken up by my mum screaming and crying. That night I was alone for myself for the first time, I couldn't get that noise out of my head.

First Text Message

Not everyone does this one but whenever I was texting my Nanna or my Grampy, I'd always copy the other one in. That way I knew that at least one of them would see it and get back to me. I can't remember what I was texting my Grampy about but I went to copy my Nanna in automatically and it was a shock to the system when I realised I didn't have to do that anymore.

First Birthday

Every year on my birthday my Nanna calls me and sings 'Happy birthday to you' down the phone. My Nanna also always wrote the birthday cards. This year my card was written by my Grampy but still said 'love Nanna and Grampy' just in handwriting I don't see that often. Cue breakdown.

Their First Birthday

It's this weekend. I'm just thanking my lucky stars that I have to work so I at least have a distraction. I have a card at home I haven't written in.

First Christmas

This is possibly the first year in FOREVER where I am not excited about Christmas. Not even in the slightest. It's December and I have barely started Christmas shopping. I'm still adjusting to the idea that there's one less present to buy,

My Nanna loved Christmas, when I came a long a rule was implemented where we weren't allowed to talk about Christmas until AFTER my birthday,

I'm really not looking forward to t, I kind of wish I could skip it.

First Anniversary

Maybe on the 23rd July 2017, things will have started to heal. I don't know yet. No one knows yet. It could be wonderful. It could be the saddest day ever,

Everyone has different firsts and every one takes their time to 'get over it' (even though you never really get over it...), I don't even know whether I'm taking too long. All I know is that it hurts less every day. Maybe one day the hole n the pit of my stomach will vanish and I'll be able to watch the Phantom of the Opera without crying. That will be a new first. There will be lots of new firsts to come and I'm sure some of them will be amazing. I just need to get past the shit ones first!


  1. You're doing wonderfully, and there's no time limit for feeling better, you just have to look after you and do what you can. I love you very much.


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