Loss and Longing


This morning, I was walking my son to school, when a sudden wave of grief hit me like a tonne of bricks. It came seemingly out of nowhere. I realised there was a familiar scent in the air as I took a deep breath while I collected myself. I looked around, and realised there was a huge pink Camellia right next to me, overloaded with pink blooms. Aha! The same scent of camellias that would engulf me as I walked up the path to my grandparents front door.

Its funny how grief can just sit there in the background all the time, and then all of a sudden pops out to surprise you. It’s about 2 years since I lost my grandparents. Of course, I miss them, but it really hits me when I think of their house and garden. The little cottage that my grandfather made, with all of its built in furniture and tricky storage (cupboards under beds! so clever). The kitchen that was grandma’s domain. Their designated chairs in the lounge room. The garden that my grandmother had loved so much. Those are now gone too. Demolished by developers. I find that thought almost unbearable. Yesterday, I was thinking of grandma, so I drew a little quail. How she loved those funny little birds!

Its seems silly when I write it down, but when I have those moments where a sudden memory engulfs me, I like to think its them saying hello in the only way they can. It’s my mums birthday tomorrow. She would have been 67. She is gone too. It’s been 17 years, which seems completely impossible, but of course, it isn’t. I think of her being gone, then of Dad, then my grandparents. Can they really all be gone? Maybe Grandma’s saying hi because she knows I am sad. I like to think she might be.






7 thoughts on “Loss and Longing”

  1. This piece is so truthful Amy, and so touching. I’m grieving too, for my brother who passed away in November. Still raw. Sometimes in my day to day life I forget, and the suddenly grief engulfs me. Grief is an unpredictable thing isn’t it.

    1. grandpacat

      Yes it is! When you wrote so beautifully about your brother, it really resonated with me. I have always been very private with my grief, but as time goes on, I realise that it is not something we should shy away from. It is a universal experience, something we must all face.

      A friend of my fathers explained it beautifully after my mother died. She said that as time goes on, you manage to pack your grief away in a box, and put it in a cupboard. Over time, you go to the cupboard and open the box less often, but when you do, it is just as raw and sad as it ever was. After 17 years without mum, and 11 without dad, I can say it gets easier. But sometimes… Whoa. It all comes at once. Which is a good thing, because it reminds me that they have not been forgotten.

  2. I wonder if it ever stops hitting you in waves like that… I love that you drew that quail. Don’t know if you’re into children’s books, but there is a really beautiful one about grief by Oliver Jeffers, called The Heart and the Bottle, it is strangely comforting…

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