This morning, I laid in bed in that in-between state of not asleep but not quite awake either and I thought properly about the day my Nan told me she was coughing up blood. It was as though I was feeling, for the first time, how my Nan may have been feeling. I understood that she’d probably had some time of this coughing and I felt the fear she must have felt as she pondered the possible explanations for it. I remembered her reaction when I told her to see a doctor, her hesitancy to do so which I’m now sure was born out of fear more than anything else. At the time I didn’t once stop to think about how Nan was feeling, I just went ahead with what I thought best, going straight down to see my Nan’s doctor to tell him what was happening and to ask him to call her himself, which he did that night. I forced my Nan to face her fears with no regard to anything other than my needs at that time. My needs to have my Nan in my life forever. I never stopped to think about Nan’s needs, her fears or her wishes.
Sixteen years later, I’m now feeling what that actually may have meant for Nan, how she may have felt. How I betrayed her. I’ve often wondered over the past sixteen years what would have happened had I done nothing that day. Had I kept Nan’s secret between us, supported her in her decision to not seek medical help, to have kept the trust between us. I’ve often wondered if my actions contributed to Nan dying as quickly as she did. Had she not known she had lung cancer, she may have lived longer. When she told me she was coughing up blood, she wasn’t showing signs of illness and yet within just a matter of weeks of receiving the cancer diagnosis, she was dying before my eyes, laid in a hospital bed with symptoms that she hadn’t had previously. Maybe the old saying, Ignorance is bliss was true in this case and maybe by forcing the situation because I was so desperate not to lose the one person in my life I felt truly loved me, I actually made it happen and lost her sooner than I would have, had I kept my mouth shut.
Tonight, as I started to write this, I said a very heartfelt and honest ‘sorry’ to my Nan. I’m sorry for betraying her trust. I’m sorry for then not being there for her as much as I could have. I’m sorry for taking sixteen years to really feel the weight of my actions, to acknowledge them and to apologise for them. I’m deeply sorry if my actions contributed to losing Nan earlier than I otherwise would have done. I’m just so very sorry.
I hope and pray that if my Nan is still around in spirit, that she knows and feels the depth of my love for her, back then and now. My feelings for her have never changed, waned or altered. I still think of her a lot, I still feel the love we had for each other, a love I believe was special and unique between us. A love stronger than I felt for my own parents. I hope she knows that although selfish, my actions were born out of a deep love for her and for us, for our relationship and the incredible bond I felt I had with her. She was my strength, my ally, my friend. The person that shaped my life positively and helped me to see that even during the bleakest of times, there was always hope. She was, she still is, my inspiration.