I started this blog thinking the hardest thing I would write about would be the hardest parts of parenting like the tantrums and sleepless nights but this is far harder than any of those.
This is exemplified by the fact I have put it off for weeks now. But I think now, the time is right. But the right time for no reason whatsoever.
My Grandad to me was always a trendsetter, a teacher, a father figure, a hero and the life of the party. He got me into new technology, inspired my passion for gaming (both board and computer types) and taught me skills, both practical and life lessons. He loved family, fuelling our gatherings with humour, taught us everything (from LEDs to croquet), inspiring weird and wonderful games such as ‘badminton over the fence’. It’s safe to he inspired me to become the man and Daddy to Munchkin I am today.
We knew his body was slowly shutting down, but by no means thought it was the end. He has dodged death many times before. On 20 March he went into hospital. Being amidst the Covid-19 outbreak, both me and my Sister decided we should not visit, the last thing we would want would be to bring Covid-19 to him (if we were to have it). Sadly, however, he peacefully lost his fight against heart failure the morning of 21 March.
There lies my first regret and the first issue with losing a loved one during a viral outbreak. I am wholeheartedly gutted and I’m am so sorry I couldn’t come to tell him I loved him or say goodbye even if it was the right decision to stay at home at the time.
We did have permission to visit the hospital and say goodbye in the morning. For this I was and still am so thankful that it was just before lockdown. I imagine this is the first hardship of losing someone since lockdown began. I’m so sorry to anyone who can’t.
On the afternoon of the 21st March the family met in the garden of my Nans at a social distance.
On the morning of the 23rd Me and Natalie decided it was time to self isolate. One loss in the family was enough for this outbreak and we needed to protect our Nan. I think this decision broke my Mums heart. Munchkin had helped everyone the day before and wasn’t ready to stop seeing him.
On the afternoon of March 23 the UK entered lockdown.
Lockdown meant the funeral was delayed and added complications and frustrations for my Mum, Auntie and Nan who were making arrangements. When the funeral would go ahead, I would expect to not have my wife or Munchkin as they topped the numbers permitted.
The day of the funeral arrived and only family were permitted at the crematorium as expected. However, when we left my Nans behind the hearse, neighbours and friends lined the streets instead to clap. There are no words to describe what that meant to us.
With only 10.5 of us (as Natalie and Munchkin were allowed to join us when the day came around) the funeral was different to a typical one with these small numbers, but I think the whole family would agree we gave him the best send off we could.
The Effect of the lockdown
Having never lost someone so close, I don’t know how this mourning malarkey should play out, however I’m certain its been delayed by lockdown. Having not done the normal things such as seeing our family, or going out for meals since, we have not been in the situations where we would be together but we wouldn’t have Grandad with us. Add to that the distraction of a full time Munchkin with me on furlough, I don’t think I’ve had the time to process it much at all.
The lockdown produces challenges and frustrations for every aspect of arrangement. From the funeral to sorting pensions and bills…
Thirdly, while she puts on a positive face, I cannot imagine what my Nan is going through. Now living alone but also staying at home and not seeing family. It is the worst.
Loss sucks, lockdown sucks and the collective crap of both of these is indescribable. For the many people that have lost someone during this madness, my heart goes out to you, as while this has been difficult for me, I’m hugely grateful I got to say goodbye in the hospital and we all got to attend the funeral. I imagine there have been much harder circumstances for thousands of families recently.
Regardless of those who have lost someone to Covid-19 or any other cause during lockdown. We mourn together.
You will have our love always –
Rest in peace Peter Harris Wakefield 1932 – 2020