It all started to go downhill late on the 1st of Jan really when Dad phoned me to say that Granny Heddle was going downhill rapidly, followed by her eventually dying late on the 2nd of Jan. I really didn't know how I was going to react as she's not really been here the last few years after a series of really serious strokes back in 2002. They affected her quite badly and I thought I'd done a fair bit of grieving for her at the point - obviously not the whole caboodle though. I'll admit to having been quite upset these last couple of weeks as the realisation that she really isn't going to get any better and be able to pick up the phone and speak to me is starting to sink in. I only travelled up to Orkney for the funeral on the day itself (Fri 6th) which meant that the first sight I got of her was the coffin at the front of the kirk. It threw me a bit. The kirk was full of folk and I know that most of them visited her while she was still alive - she wasn't one of those folk who got forgotten about as she aged or wasn't so fit anymore. I did start to lose it a bit when we left the kirk (thank heavens for my cousin Katrina - hugs most appreciated) and wasn't best at the graveyard but if you can't be upset then when can you be. I was really glad that Mabel and Anna came as it helped to have my own friends who knew Granny there. I'm very grateful to them - plus Anna provided a much needed bolthole on the Saturday night. About 70-odd folk came along to the wake which was astounding. It's a long time since I've seen a funeral as big as that.
What didn't make it any easier was landing in Orkney to hear that one of my cousins had been murdered by her husband the evening before. She'd left him a few months ago but he obviously had some control issues along the lines of "if I can't have her then nobody will" so he shot her and then shot himself. It's unheard of for such things to happen in Orkney - we've only had 3 murders in 40 years. Most of the family are still in shock over the whole thing. I can't say that I'd seen a lot of Donna in the last few years but we did play together a lot when we were kids and she was always a very cheerful, giggly soul. It's very unfair for her to love her chance on life at only 30.
So please forgive me if it takes a few weeks for me to get back in the swing of things. I'm trying to look after myself (and Robert's helping in any way he can) to make sure that grief doesn't turn into a bout of depression but I've held it off for a couple of years and I don't want to go back down that path again.
I will be adding a few things to the blog to commemorate Granny over the next few weeks (once I get my arse in gear) and rest assured they will show her spirit, courage and audacity in getting on with life when it wasn't always easy for her. I'm just grateful that we became friends later in life when we didn't have the best start. You would have thought that she would be one who ended up understanding me the best.