Letter of Loss

Dear Grandad,

I hope you can forgive me for this late letter. I wanted to write this to honour you, and your life to make sure you know I care. 

Death is a topic people often avoid. Yet I have thought about it in the depths of darkness whilst lying in my bed. How strange a word to describe life escaping a body for eternity. People believe where they want to go. Heaven or perhaps another world or species. 

All I know is that you’re not physically here on earth anymore. I am lost with how I should feel. The first reaction should be to cry to break down the walls, and scream at the skies. I’m confused, I should feel sad when relatives die. Yet I feel distant in another country and far away. It wasn’t that long ago I was talking to you on the phone while I was visiting Aunty. It was so good hearing your thick heavy Scottish accent, reminding me of the trip to Scotland many years ago with Dad and my sister. We were all at a relatives house I think, and it was so beautiful. I still recall the archway doorways and how grand it was. This seems to be the only clear memory I have of you. All I have is hazy childhood memories filled with gaps in between.

I feel the same with my memories of Mum’s Dad before he passed. She told me Grandad was a professional South African boxer with a proud look on her face. Perhaps that’s why I’m so fascinated by boxing. I thought it was so cool! I visited him in London many years ago with my family. He seemed frail, but full of happiness. 

Before I got to make any proper memories with either of you I heard you passed away. To mourn properly is something I have yet to do. Those who wear the colour black who have just come from a funeral wonder how the rest of the world can go on living while their loved ones are dead. Wishing a stranger could take their loved ones place instead. I think a part of me is lost because I barely know any of my extended family. I feel envious of those who do,. They don’t know how luck they are. I have such a confused identity. How do I react when it is someone close to me that leaves this world? I would rather not think about it.

I have been to a marriage where love was celebrated. I’ve gone to church where life is cherished. But I have never been to a funeral. I don’t think I could hold myself together watching someone being put in a coffin then buried under the ground just like that. With a few words said in between hysterical crying. I have thought about death, but I wouldn’t want a morbid funeral. How terrible would that be where people couldn’t hold themselves together to say what they wished to say? I would want it to be a celebration of who I was, what I did, with joyful laughs. Why are funerals about speeches for someone after they’re dead? They should have said what they wanted to say to that person while they were alive. I suppose it is a tradition and way to honour the dead, I respect that. How ironic I’m writing this letter then instead of saying it to you when I could have. 

I hope you were at peace when you left. I know you had your loved ones with you. I am sure there were shared laughs and tears at your funeral, the same goes for my Grandad from London. I’m sorry I couldn’t be there. I wish I had written letters like I said I would. Different countries kept us apart for years and I could have saved and visited my other family in England but I didn’t, and I’m mad at myself for that. It’s a wake up call to cherish those around you, and to see people while you have the chance. So you don’t have to read words off a page you scrunch in your hands, while your tears blur what you want to say. Say what you need to say with no shame to those you care about or love.

To both of my Grandad’s you brought great parents into this world for me who have taught me everything. I hope your life was the best it could have been. Your legacy shall continue through your great children, and family. This song I heard many years ago and it’s still as sad and beautiful so I dedicate this song to you, these are my letters from your granddaughter. May your spirit’s be full of life and joy. Even though you aren’t in this world anymore I am certain there is another adventure awaiting for you in the next world. Make it home, make it safe. 

Love Nadia

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