In Loving Memory

Every time I add honey to tea, I think of

you, and how sweet you made the world

taste. Then I smile and continue on my way.

[TW: Death, sudden loss of a family member]

On the 24th of September 2019, as I was preparing to travel to Thessaloniki in Greece, I received a call from my Mom telling me that my grandfather who had been rushed to hospital the previous night had suddenly and without warning had a catastrophic bleed.

I, of course, was in shock. My Mom and brother had only video called him the day before and he was chirpy (or at least as chirpy as you could be while in pain) and looking forward to release. On reflection, at the time, I don’t think I actually processed what my Mom was telling me. My brain did that strange and fantastic thing the human brain does when confronted with the death of a loved one: it froze and scrambled to comprehend the loss, and inevitably failed. The notion that someone can be full of life one moment and gone the next is a terrifying but necessary part of being human—to know that life is finite and uncertain.

The reality of the situation at hand didn’t hit home until my brother called me soon after and delivered the final blow: my grandfather had just passed away after receiving the last rites. Just thinking about that phone call makes me cry, because the sudden death of a loved one is a very strange kind of trauma; you are left searching for an explanation, for a reason as to why they had to go at that specific time. You settle on “it was their time to go”, but you know deep down that this is just a band aid on a knotted medley of trauma beating deep in your very confused brain.

As you can probably guess, I didn’t go to Greece. I dropped everything and took a train first to my parent’s home and then travelled to Ireland with family to attend my grandfather’s wake and funeral.

The 24th of September 2020 was the one year anniversary of my grandfather’s death. My grandmother asked family to write some words in recognition of this anniversary, and so I did:

Every time I add honey to tea, I think of

you, and how sweet you made the world

taste. Then I smile and continue on my way.

Life can be ugly and rough. Sometimes when leading such immensely busy modern existences we forget that beneath this complexity lies a web of simplicity. Simple habits and feelings linger sometimes dormant in our unconscious, waiting to be triggered by an external source, a smell, sound, colour, flavour, or sensation. If you knew my grandfather you knew he loved tea, but especially with honey. So, wherever I am, or whatever distractions arise, whenever I stir honey into my tea I always think of my grandfather, and life stops racing momentarily.

Then I continue on my way.

2 comments

  1. I’m so so sorry for your loss Chloe. Your poem describes such a beautiful way to remember him, and I hope it will give you some comfort and a moment of peace as you grieve. Take care, and lots of love xxx.

    Liked by 1 person

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