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June 24, 2014

When someone I loved died 10 years ago, I felt totally numb, broken and disorientated. Absolutely and utterly unable to function on any effective level, it took a journey to the other side of the world and time in the desert to dull the pain and allow my mind to work without the fog of grief.

Very sadly now I can see my mother in the same place. Telling her the news on Saturday was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, there obviously was never a ‘right’ time, the sun was out, we had a music lesson and then some things to do and then came home to find visitors, then time for lunch, more people dropped by and then Granby wanted a sleep, I kept Hope awake for a little while so that when Granby was waking again it was time for her to snooze. I made cups of tea, I sliced cake and we went and sat in the garden. It broke my heart to see her so happy as she walked out into the garden wanting her camera to take pictures of the roses and the beautiful day, I knew that when she went back inside, my mother would be a very different person.

I was right … and I ache for her. Disbelief, reality, wanting to escape from reality, sadness, anguish … all for her dear friend.

It strikes me that there are charities for just about everything in this world, and compassionate leave with family members, but nobody seems to really reflect on the pain that the loss of an old friend can cause. There is nobody there to support, maybe the main bereavement charities but they seem to be more about family than friends. I guess the way the world is going that more and more people will be not just dependent on but far closer to friends than family and this may become more of an issue. Something to reflect on.

So, we’ve talked, we’ve cried, we’ve watched Miranda episodes on the TV and we’ve been out for lunch with the world’s most hospitable people, we’ve sat and played in the garden while Hope and her friends ran around or played in the little sandpit we were given a few days back. I’ve cooked, friends have bought cake and although she’s welcomed the cake and enjoyed the company, she’s not really into it, her mind is ontop of a mountain watching a wonderful woman picking berries in her garden, walking amongst the Alpine wildflowers with butterflies wafting about in the sunshine.

We’ve spoken to her family, and shared their grief, offered the meagre comfort we can and I know that Mummy wishes she could be there for them, to help in some way. She wants to phone them more often but the language barrier gets in the way and ultimately they know she’s here for them. That got me wondering as well, if anything happened to one of my close friends, I’d want to do all I could to help their children, to be there to support them, to hold them tight and mop away tears and share stories, that’s exactly what she wants to do, but the curse of being old and less mobile than she was is making her feel something of a liability.

So, the whole thing is so so terribly sad and I wish I knew some magical way of easing the pain. I don’t. I have Hope who cuts through it in her own way, “Granby sad?” “Poor Granby … Granby have mine frooob?” “Granby watch DVD with Hopey?” (the latter is the ultimate  prize, the best possible thing she can think of, her music DVD, children’s songs performed by children with very northern accents).

We’ll just keep on keeping on, and be there when we’re needed, and I’m sure often when we’re not, and we’ll do all we can to try to pour balm on the rawness of her pain. We were looking at a butterfly in the garden this afternoon before the storms came and it reminded me of the butterflies up the mountain. I looked up at Mummy and saw it did the same for her.


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