Farfar

 

 

 

My dear Farfar, (the Norwegian Grandad). His name was Thor.

He passed away on Saturday morning, at 12.30pm in Norway. Peaceful and calm. I just found out yesterday eve. The cut of contact with my sister and family seemed to have prevented the message getting to me sooner.

I am devastated. I am numb. I am disconnected. I am dissociated.

Until I force my eyes deep inside and connect with the pain. And then I sob.

And yet I had known this day would happen. He would go before I had the chance to say goodbye. Before I got a chance to explain why I had not visited him or been in touch – I was ill. I had chronic fatigue. And then I was en route to a breakdown, and then it happened, and this whole time, family was something I could not connect with. It was too raw and close to home. I just crossed my fingers that he knew. But he knew no facts about that side of my life. I crossed my fingers that the time it felt ready to write to him and explain, he would still be alive. But he no longer is.

This photograph was taken the last time we were together. January 2009. Norway.

Farfar, I am sorry. I loved you with all my heart. You were the only family member on my fathers side that I truly felt connected with and I loved you like words cannot describe. You were the most incredible man I have ever known. And from the minute I hung up the phone from my sister, I felt you right there. I felt you closer than I have ever done before. And that stayed with me for the rest of the eve. The clouds were stormy and magnificent in the nights sky. My walk home was fluttered with sobs of you. Sobs for you. Sobs for me. Sobs for us both. Sobs for this thing called life and how it plans out. Sobs for the inability to feel able to come to the funeral. The sobs for where I am at emotionally. Sobs for not feeling able to cope with ‘pulling myself together’ and flying over to say goodbye.

This will be a sob I will never know whether it is okay to have done. To miss the funeral. But beneath that sob, is another sob – a sob of understanding. A sob of forgiveness for myself. A sob of compassion for the fact that I cannot, for the first time in my life, feel able to deal with going there. Not because I don’t want to. Not because I can’t be bothered. It could not be more opposite. This sob is a sob of realisation about the PTSD and the anxiety, and my current state. It is a determined sob that shows me I need to get through this time. Never ever would I think that I would miss my dear Grandfathers funeral, just because I am in the midst of such struggle. Never ever would I not go to it because I am worried about the aftereffect because of my fragility and PTSD, and trigger of family. Let alone the whole package of anxiety I would be facing and overcoming by trying to even begin the journey by stepping foot on a train. But are these just excuses? Are these self sabbotage excuses at their best? But is this struggle enough to prevent me from going? I just want someone to tell me it really is okay to not go, if it is going to be so intense emotionally. But will the regret afterwards be more intense and more destructive? That is something a sob will never bring an answer for. It will only bring a gentle heal.

Grief of this kind is unfamiliar. Because all the time in my life I have felt grief before, I have been in such a numb survival state of coping with the rest of what life was throwing my way, I did not know that you could feel the pain and actually let it be there. So I think this numbing, this shut-down, is a sign of health because I am connected to the pain. Yet I don’t know what to do with it. How do you grieve? How do you know you are honouring the person as much as you can? How do you know you will not regret how you dealt with it at the time?

This is only brief as I have to go. I have chosen to go to work today, to my friends garden, to bring a source of grounding to this time. But I will write more later and share the story, share the pain, share the memories, and share the now. I long to feel awake and open to the pain and not fearful of the dissociation and numbness it has left me swimming in. I am tired. I am exhausted. And this just feels like the final straw in the cup of life’s botched up milkshake. And it’s left me slurping and sleepy and unable.

 

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20 thoughts on “Farfar

  1. I am so sorry for your pain today. Please don’t force yourself to do anything you are unable to do comfortably. Going to the funeral would be very traumatic given the family situation ~ believe me I know! You know that you loved and will always love, your Farfar, and more importantly HE KNEW. He would never have questioned it or your absence because grandparents are just so full of love for their grandchildren. Whether he knew your problems or not is not important ~ his love would be unswerving. Remember all the good times ~ that photo is so beautiful and you shine with such love, joy and pride in his company. That is immortal. print it out large and stick it everywhere. Honour his memory by being yourself and loving yourself as much as he would wish. You are wonderful, intelligent and full of love ~ qualities you may have inherited from him and they will always be with you as will he. Enjoy the garden, cry as much as you need to then plant a littel tree or shrub for him and watch it blossom. It does not matter what your difficult relations think about you ~ anyone who sees that photo will know how special you are.
    Lots of love and hugs for you at this time x

  2. My condolences to you. I’m so sorry your dear grandfather (Farfar) died. You look very happy standing next to him in your picture. It’s obvious you loved him. I don’t think he’d be upset you couldn’t go to the funeral. It sounds like he was an understanding soul. You need to do what’s best for your healing.

    • Thank you so much for your heart warming and lovely reply sweetpea. You’re a star. I love, and am so grateful, that you spotted the cheekiness because I hadn’t taken time to see that in this picture. Yet it’s so true. He was cheeky and so am I – I think it’s one of the nicest things to realise, that you have inherited characteristics like that. That and his adventurous streak. Thanks heaps for your thoughts. Big love to you. X

  3. So sorry for your loss! And that I have not read it earlier and spoke earlier to you..
    You are such a loving and caring woman, you can see that so clear shining through your words and all of your posts. And these are some very precious qualities I know for sure your Grandfather admired in you. I’m so sure he felt you just wasn’t able to contact him and that he understanded.

    And it’s only good that you can forgive yourself, because sweetie there’s absolutely nothing to feel bad about. You took care of yourself and that’s the most important thing you got to do in life. No one could do that for you and no one could or would blame you for that. You acted so strong!

    So I know your loss hurts so much, but that pain is already big enough. You don’t have to feel pain because of you blaming yourself too. The loving way you talk about your Grandfather says everything and I’m sure he will feel that and love you back with all his heart.

    Love,
    Claudia

    • Your message touched me beyond words. Thank you so much sweetpea. To hear that of the pain being big enough already without making it greater by giving yourself a hard time, really made my heart warm. And to hear that you have faith he knew and understood why I wasn’t in touch. Even if in a subconscious way. Or even if that he knows now – he feels closer in a way too. So maybe now it can be the time he sees why. it’s funny how you can feel someone’s energy so close, and in times of pain this may give you added strength. Your message made me remember that feeling I had when I found out he had passed – I felt I had absorbed his strength and his energy for life. If that makes sense. And right now that is so needed. I am really feeling the need to write something for the funeral soon and send cards to family but I have not done it yet. I trust these things happen at the right time, on the right day : you cannot push them, right?
      How are you my love? Your blog is doing so well! I feel honoured to have been with you from the start-ish! Big love xxx

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