by Louisa Jane 12 months ago in grief

Remembering how low you were shows how far you've come.

An Owl Butterfly - Poppa's favourite

I've never been the sharing type. Not openly to people anyway, not unless they blatantly ask. It's not my style to be so bold. (See previous post on bottling up emotions :'D ) I like to write. Put pen to paper and get my thoughts out on the table for me to finally make sense of. In the absence of real privacy, I like to tap away at my laptop's keys and vent. I can save and change things then, and come back to them when I can think of a way to say what I mean. I don't like to delete and rewrite stuff I've already saved though, then I feel like I'm betraying the feelings I had in those moments. They were raw and real, and needed saying.

So, recently, I came across a rant I did a few years back. Saved in the abyss of my laptop. It was a few weeks after my grandfather, or Poppa, passed away. He wasn't my paternal grandfather, but my Nana's second husband and the only grandfather I had ever known. He was a lot of things and not all of them particularly pleasant, especially in his last year when he was riddled with dementia and his sharp tongue really knew no boundaries. In the weeks after his death, we came to learn things about him that were really quite awful, but it was one of those horrendous internal conflicts for me—he was still my Poppa and I had so many glorious memories of him growing up. It was hard to acknowledge these awful things but still retain the memory I had and wanted to keep. It didn't help that everyone around me, even my Dad, grieved pretty quickly, if you can really call it grieving. I think after everything they just wanted to bury the hatchet, which I understand. But still, he was my Poppa and I wanted to remember him.

Shortly after Poppa died, my Dad—my hero in all things—had a heart attack. HE'S FINE! But those paramedics pouring into the house and into his and mum's room will forever haunt me, and the hours that followed.

At the same time, my sister was coming out of an abusive relationship and spent her days crying and the slightest thing.

And to top it all off, I was between jobs and without a penny to my name. I had a jar that I kept copper coins in, that was literally all I had. Mum and Dad were so good with me, didn't ask for rent, food money, anything, but I think their understanding made me feel worse!

So all in all, things were pretty crap. But it's okay because I had my laptop to rant with. I'm okay now, it's been a long time since. Poppa's gone, Dad's fit as a fiddle, my sister is happy in her new relationship. I'm still broke but that's because I decided to go back to uni! New environment, new challenges, and I know I'm going to be fab at what I've chosen to do! We can't complain really! I guess I just want to share this rant, it meant a lot at the time and it's time to draw a line in the sand.

Below is my rant of those weeks. I was sat in bed when I wrote them.

(To give a bit of context, I compared those times with ones of ten years ago, when I was fourteen and my Mum was rushed into emergency surgery with a ruptured stomach ulcer. She had to be resuscitated twice and was put into a coma. It was the worst experience of my life and it shaped me into the person I am now, and I'm stronger for it. She is also fine and well so don't worry!)

"I'm cold. I'm tired. I'm angry. I'm sad. My belly hurts. My chest feels heavy. My breaths are long and strenuous, and do nothing for relieving the pressure on my chest. Poppa died. I feel I've been cut away from my childhood, everything I loved and where I knew I would be safe. It doesn't help that no one seems to have grieved the way I have, or cared in the first place.

Then, when mum nearly died: I cooked, I cleaned, I cried. I got up without fail, I battled on to school, I cried. I sat with Pippa, I smiled, I cried. I hated going to the hospital, I felt mind-numbingly guilty but could not bring myself to go. When she came home for the day, I hated it. She wasn't better or the mother I knew. I had Karen. I cried, and cried, and cried, even after there was nothing but dry angry screams left. I had Pippa to protect, and Dad to keep afloat. I felt stuck, drowning on dry land. I felt like I was holding in my breath on a cliff's edge and to fall was unacceptable. I felt isolated, stranded, claustrophobic. I wanted to go home. This was not home.

I cried to Karen for hours, the counsellor that school organised for me every Tuesday. In the midst of GCSEs, I don't know how I coped without her. She just sat and listened to everything that was wrong and didn't judge me or tell me to stop. She was the answer to my prayers.

Now: I'm not allowed to cook. "It's already done." I get up, I battle through the familiar emptiness inside me, I go to work. I tell people the same damn story through the same painted smile.

"You okay?"/"How is he?"

Do you really want to know? ...

"I'm fine," she lied, "He's getting there." The paint drips and slips off. I'm not the same person anymore, I know it's okay not to be okay. I'm not the same, I know what I do and do not deserve. I have no Karen, and I desperately need her. I don't want to further burden my family over the woes they're already aware of. All I want to do is come home to peace. I want to run away, and unlike the first time I can, for a few hours at least. That's all I want. Some time to feel normal and sane. Trying to grasp onto as much happiness as I can for as long as I can before I have to return to the madhouse. I'm so tired. Tired of waking up feeling grim, tired of going to bed feeling average, and so fucking tired of still being expected to bring the painted face home with me. So exhausted of feeling as though I have to stand dutifully on my cliff's edge gagging for breath. And when I do have a few days teetering off balance, it's like the world is ending, how dare I. I feel like the floor has ripped open underneath me and I'm doing all I know how to not to burn in the fires. Every now and then, a memory, a few words, a feeling, something long repressed from years gone by, will come and stab me and render me to tears or fury or paranoia. I feel as though I'm a nuisance, it'd be easier if I wasn't there. Pfftttt, Lou sounding WAY too dramatic there! :') Nothing sinister or anything else drastic like that, but maybe not here. Just physically somewhere else away from all this. I'm acknowledged but not appreciated or sought after. I feel I can't do right for doing wrong, if I try and do what is right by me it upsets others, but if I abide by the expectations of others I can feel the pieces of myself chipping away. Nobody's satisfied. It's so destructive and costs me so much to do.

"What's wrong, Lou?"

And I'm so fucking tired of no one listening to the answer."

Louisa Jane
Louisa Jane
Read next: Allie on the Sand
Louisa Jane

Paying for my masters degree through story-telling. Any help you give would mean more than the world!

British, art enthusiast, amateur-dramatics amateur, Francophile, traveller, people person, of the general happy-go-lucky sort :)

See all posts by Louisa Jane