Some days, everyday feels like a fight. Usually, I have had a trigger when it gets this way that goes like a snowball. One thought and my mind is off for days until it gets to a place where it can rest, or perhaps, I simply have too much and it gets too big and I can’t carry it on.
A couple of weeks ago, I got stuck in the snow on the way to University. Every day, I have to drive through the area I grew up in; so many places, so many memories. Some good and some bad.
While driving a road that normally takes less than five minutes, and took me almost forty-five through the snow, my mind wandered. I spotted the fish and chip shop my Nan would take me to when my parents had left me. I saw the shop owned by my Nan’s friends. She would drive me insane as she chatted about all the boring things adults say, while I, a seven year old, just wished she’d say goodbye. I got to the main part of the road where my Nan used to walk along each day, and that was when my mind got stuck.
She’s been gone almost thirteen years now, but I remember her face, the way she walked, her voice. I can hear it perfectly in my mind, and on that day, it was almost like being able to see her walk along that same road as she had done when she was alive.
I reminded myself that she was gone, but of course, that led me on to remembering when she died. I was twenty-four.
She had collapsed in her house, but luckily, she was by the telephone and called for help. She had a blood clot in her lungs and was taken to hospital. My dad called me up to tell me and inform me that she was probably going to die. Of course, I didn’t waste time in going to see her.
Every day, he would call me to say, your Nan is sick, maybe she will die today and she will be by herself, and each time, I would panic and get there as fast as I could. By Friday, she had been there for five days. I went to the hospital and my father was there with my brother. I didn’t want to stay with him and have to listen to what he would say after, about her. I don’t know why I gave her a hug and a kiss. I hadn’t done that in a very long time, but I had just wanted to.
The next morning, was the same scenario. A call from my dad to tell me my Nan was going to die alone. I was going to see her anyway. I was going early because my partner and I had a young baby and we were house hunting.
I knew the moment I walked onto the ward that she was gone. I felt it; like emptiness. The nurse caught me before I got to her bed and ushered me into a side room. I didn’t want to hear the words. My dad sat there with his fake tears and fake grief, getting all the attention and pretending that she had been like a mother to him. He had loved her and spoke whatever lies he could think of. The kind nurse asked him if he would like to see her and say goodbye. He said yes please, through his sobs and asked me if I was coming. He sent my brother out for a walk, so he didn’t have to deal with it.
I wasn’t sure if I wanted to see her. My last memory had been me saying goodbye and that was enough, right? He stood at the door to her room. I stood to the side and couldn’t see her. He started to cry again at the sight of her and told me she looked like she was sleeping and smiling.
I agreed to go in, but she didn’t look like he said. She looked dead. Her cheeks had sunk, she was pale, and cruelly, she was still warm as my father carried on his performance of the grieving son in law.
He took her personal possessions from the nursing staff, including her purse, which he emptied and spent the money on my brother. I went home and kept my grief inside because he stole it from me.
The biggest part of this memory is that I remember thinking, what if now she can see the truth. What if she knows what I had done with my father all these years? Now, she would hate me. Now, she would know I am a monster. She would know that everything about me was a lie and that I was some sick human that engaged in sexual contact with my parents.
I realised that this is when I buried everything and I became sick within my mind. This is when my OCD really began to peak because it needed an outlet.
This week has been like opening something I didn’t know I had sealed, and feeling it.