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Stephen is a contributing writer to The Hudsucker. Loving husband, coffee/energy drink aficionado, TV/movie buff and average-joe.

A Dedication…

In 2004 I was heading to my home town for a Christmas visit with my family. My Gran’s health had not been too good lately, and I was anxious to get back home and visit her in the hospital. I greeted my parents as I always did, with a meaningful hug and the soft spoken exchange of, ‘it’s good to see you’. Getting to the hospital was on the forefront of my mind so I was quick to broach the subject. My Mum said to me that I would be able to visit my Gran tomorrow when they went to check on her in hospital. I was happy enough with this, as I hadn’t seen her for a couple of months, and I was desperate to see that she was doing okay despite her obvious illness. Telling yourself that everything is going to be okay is not something I do as an eternal pessimist, but hadn’t stopped reassuring myself since I stepped in the door of my home.

Image Credit: Loch Lomond Trossachs National Park

Image Credit: Loch Lomond Trossachs National Park

The ride to the hospital was long and quiet; an unusual scenario for my family as we were more often than not rather talkative when travelling. However, it was plain to see that everyone’s thoughts were elsewhere. As we stepped out the car, my Mum turned to me and told me what to expect, and to be honest I don’t think I was really paying attention; I just wanted to see my Gran.

I hate hospitals at the best of times, and let’s be honest when is there a best time involving a hospital? I followed my parents down the sterile smelling, pastel coloured halls to the room where my Gran was being treated. I had managed to keep a steady stride as we walked the lengths of the corridors, but the closer we were getting the less power I had in my legs. I could feel the trepidation coursing its way through my extremities as we finally approached the doorway.

There lay, on the pure white hospital bed, my Gran. She looked pale and weak and so, so thin. I was almost too scared to step into the room, but I knew I had too. I greeted her with the most loving and sincere greeting I have ever uttered. However, I felt in opposition; part of me was so happy to see her, but the other part was terrified at how ill she looked. I don’t remember much about my visit with my Gran, but I do remember that she told me that she enjoyed the view from her window and that she had seen horses running back and forth, and that they looked so majestic. When the time came to say goodbye I remember hugging her, and feeling her arm around me; she was so weak. I remember thinking to myself, be sure to tell her you love her. Be sure to tell her that. In all honesty I’m not sure that I did…but she knew that I did.

My Mum had said her goodbye before me and my Dad, and had gone back to the car. Obviously this was tough for her as it was her mother that was suffering so much. My Dad and I walked out of the room, I looked back briefly at my Gran, then continued down the hallway in silence. We stepped into the elevator, the doors closed, and my eyes stared into my Dad’s. My father is a strong man, and I have only ever seen him cry twice in my life; once at my wedding, and once that day. However, we both broke down into tears…I remember him holding me, and the only words he could muster were, ‘I know. I know.’ I didn’t know it on that day, but that last glimpse I caught of my Gran as I left her room was the last time I would ever see her. If I had known, I would have stayed longer, I would have told her how much she meant to me and let her know that she was so special to me. I would have told her everything and anything, just to speak to her one last time.

After Christmas I went back home, and got ready to start work again.

Not long after getting back I had a day off work and ended up going to watch a film with my friends. The distance and distractions of life made it easier to avoid the things I had left behind. However, after the film, everything came crashing back.

As I stepped out of the cinema, my phone began to vibrate. I looked at the caller ID and saw that it was my Dad. I said, ‘Hey Dad’ with enthusiasm as I was genuinely pleased to hear from him. The mood changed, and my Dad began to tell me that my Gran had passed away and that the funeral would be in a few days. I don’t know if I said much else other than, ‘okay…okay…’ while on the call, but I did tell my Dad I loved him, and that I would see him soon. I hung up the phone and got into my car, my friends followed suit. The journey back to where we stayed wasn’t too long and as the others got out of the car, I said to them that I would see them later, and that I had something to do. I picked up my phone to call my girlfriend, she didn’t answer, but I left a message saying that needed to come and see her. So, I began the drive to her house. She lived in a house out in the country so the road is long and winding, and at this time of year very snowy. I practically drove there on autopilot, my mind barely drifting from the thought of my Gran for more than a second. I hadn’t shed a tear since my Dad had told me the news. I started to wonder what was wrong with me, why was I not devastated? As the drive went on, the CD player kept going through song after song, but suddenly there was a lengthy pause before the next track. As I gazed out of my car wind-shield, the snow fell so elegantly from the sky, and then the song began to play; Such Great Heights by Iron & Wine. I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes, but I had to try and hold it in.

After what seemed like a lifetime, I arrived at my girlfriend’s home, got out of the car and went toward the house. She was already waiting for me as I walked towards the front door. Within moments of seeing her standing and smiling at me, I broke down. I began to let go of all of my frustrations, all of my sadness, and all of me.

The next few hours must have been difficult for her as we had only been together a couple of months at the time, but she stayed with me, held me and reassured me. After the tears had stopped, I turned to my girlfriend and said, ‘she would have loved you.’ As I said earlier, I am now married, and I am married to the girl I was with all those years ago…And I know I was right; my Gran would have thought the world of her.

Every year, on the 12th of January, I set aside a little time to be by myself. I light a candle, and put on that song by Iron & Wine and I remember her, and everything she ever did for me.

This article is dedicated to my Gran….I miss you every day.

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  1. Holiday Reading Round-Up | The Hudsucker - December 25, 2014

    […] A Dedication: In 2004 I was heading to my home town for a Christmas visit with my family. My Gran’s health had not been too good lately, and I was anxious to get back home and visit her in the hospital. I greeted my parents as I always did, with a meaningful hug and… {Continue reading…} […]

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