Last night one of my staff left work, and rushed home. His grandfather had been admitted into hospital earlier after having a stroke. I don’t know (I never asked) but I suspect the reason why he vacated work so suddenly was because his grandfather’s condition had taken a turn for the worse.
There’s a sad inevitability about life; that it must end.
This isn’t truer than in the case of our Grandparents.
These people have walked the world for sixty, seventy or eighty plus years. They’ve lived – and now that time is almost over.
Growing up, it devastated me knowing that one day my Nanny Rose would die. I worshipped the woman, as I’ve written here before, and the idea that one day she would be gone terrified me. Infact, I was that scared that I did that weird thing that kids sometimes do; I obsessed, to the point where I told myself if I didn’t do something a set number of times, she would die.
This tick, a mild form of autism I’m told, lasted several years. To this day, actually, I still wash my face with 5 handfuls of water. Not necessarily to prevent harm anymore, but as more of a ‘routine’.
The older I get, the more likely it becomes that either of my Grandmothers will soon die. It’s not nice writing that, and touch wood it won’t happen for a long time yet, but it’s still true. One of them is nigh on 79, and the other is almost 76. Neither has quite hit the average age for a British woman to live to (82, apparently, as of 2012) but they’re fast approaching it.
I ask myself how to prepare for the day I know that’s coming. I’m not quite sure you can. I can’t predict how I’ll react when Mum rings to tell me that Nanny Rose has died, or what will happen when Dad reveals Nanny Duffy’s passing. It’s a morbid thought, and not one I like to linger over.
It’s hard now, living in London, away from both of them. I see them maybe half a dozen times a year – and even then, I know that’s not enough.
I fear that I’ll have regrets when they are gone. Why didn’t I visit them more in these last few years? Why didn’t I beg Mum to take Nanny Rose out of the care home, to look after her from home? Why didn’t I tell them I loved them as much as I possibly could, when they were still around to hear it?
I don’t know the answer to any of those, and in years to come I still won’t.
Somewhere in the future there’s a version of me, older, wiser, and who has suffered these terrible losses of Grandparents (and parents, sadly, too) already. I think about him sometimes, and think about how sad he must be.
And then I’m sad just knowing that slowly, I am becoming him, as people around me leave.