First, the good news. I know I posted a little reminder on Twitter, but here is the “official” announcement… Theatre Therapy was one whole year old on Sunday the 9th of March! I can’t believe this blog has survived for over a year. In that time there have been 6825 views, 54 comments, 38 blog posts, 5 University offers, 3 blog makeovers and 1 very overwhelmed author! Despite all of those numbers I still get very nervous before a new post goes online, and I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the fact that people actually read what I write.
I just want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has stuck with this blog over the past year, but a special thank you has to go to Olivia Edmonds (@Mysty_Scarlet/@TOABlueEyedGirl) Nathan Amzi (@theamzi) Andrew Tomlins at West End Frame (@Andrew_Tomlins/@West_End_Frame) and my Mum (can’t use twitter to save her life) who have not only put up with my panicked emails and constant pestering but have actually encouraged me to carry on – you all deserve a medal!
Now, the bad news. I know I have been beyond useless with my posts recently but sadly there is a reason for that (believe me I wish it was just me being lazy.) I am absolutely heartbroken to say that on the 28th of February 2014 my amazing, beautiful, brave, vibrant, fearless, mischievous Grandma fell asleep for the last time.
I had been to visit her three hours before and, looking back, she was saying her goodbyes. She gave me her wedding ring and held my hand, and told jokes about the nurses being horrible and giving her heroin (she was fairly doped up on morphine at this point.) We left her to sleep and, three hours later, got that awful phone call that she was slipping away. By the time we got there, she was gone.
Even now, exactly two weeks later, it still hasn’t hit me. I will never again make mince pies with my Grandma on Christmas Eve. I can’t ring her after an explosive episode of Corrie or Emmerdale to speculate about what will happen next. I love my Grandma so so much, and it’s hard to believe that a woman so full of life can just disappear forever.
It was her funeral on Wednesday the 12th of March, and it was decided that I would read a poem that I had written a few days after she passed away. I absolutely hate public speaking, especially when it’s my own writing, so this was basically my worst nightmare, but I’d be damned if I’d let that stop me. This was for my Grandma, and I was going to stand up there and make her proud. I don’t remember stepping up to the podium. I don’t remember all of those people watching me. I just remember the warmth of the sun on my back, and hearing my Grandma’s voice telling me that she loved me, as she did every time I saw her.
I love my Grandma. I always have and I always will. Even though she’s not with us any more I know that she will always be there to guide and support me, and I know that I will stay strong because she taught me how.
I saw a carefree man today,
I watched him for a while.
And in his step he had a skip,
And on his face a smile!
His head was high, his eyes were bright;
Not looking at his shoes,
And then I slowly realised;
He hadn’t heard the news.
He didn’t know that you had died
And everything was wrong.
He hadn’t seen the mourners
Fill the streets with funeral song.
I stopped the man and, solemnly,
I started to explain
The reason the whole world had stopped
And would not start again.
Why spring would not come around this year;
And skies would not be bright.
The world was now a darker place –
Had lost its shining light.
But while I spoke he did not move,
And neither did his smile.
He cleared his throat and told me
That he had known all the while!
I grabbed the man and shook him
And demanded he explain
How he could dare to smile through
All the anger and the pain.
He said “I smile because I knew her
And I knew her life was good.
To know her was a privilege –
I smile because I should.”
So when I see a carefree man,
I won’t want him to feel blue.
But instead remember why he smiles –
He’s just thinking of you.