I woke up one morning, and before I turned on the lights, I checked the time on my phone. There was a message: "Grandma died at two o'clock this morning after she had a brain oedema."
I'm sitting in the dark. Typical for my family, emotional messages are broken down to bare facts. It takes me a while to understand what that means. I don't know what to do, so I stay where I am, mumbled into the warmth of my bed in the otherwise cold room in Vantaa, Finland. Soon, I feel wet patches on my pyjama. Tears trickle over my cheeks, the black night is like a protective blanket, as if time had stopped as if the agony in my chest and throat could postpone the moment where this was my reality. The sunrise would inevitably come. With him, the day would start. The first day without her as part of my world.
In a way, I had prepared myself for this situation. Not really and actually, more in a playful and easy-going way. That's why I travelled to Helgoland with her before I left Germany. When I told her good-bye in Hamburg, she knew much better than I did, what the chances of a reunion were. She knew what farewell meant. I only thought I did.
She was one of my most faithful readers and wrote the best comments under my articles (1, 2, 3). She didn't understand where I got the courage and the confidence just to go. But she accepted it. She was a hard, passionate and sharp-tongued person and for me, she was one of the most important identifiers in my family.
This came from the fact that I was born as the only blond child in a family of dark-haired people. When I had questions about that, my parents always pointed to my grandma's blond hair. It's not surprising that I often looked to her for similarities. I found them.
In Vantaa, the morning had arrived, and the children were playing downstairs. It was a weekend and the whole family was in the house. I went downstairs, was welcomed and integrated into the morning routine. With R. and B. alone, I told them what had happened and that I might fly to Germany. Later it turned out that this wasn't necessary, but that is another chapter.
B. and R. know grief much better than I do. They met exactly the right balance between warmth, consolation and distance. They gave me the car keys and let me go. I was glad to take the time.
Outside in nature, I slowly managed to get hold of myself. I've never been that sad. I'm glad it was only the rabbits, the trees and my car, the Silver Bullet, that saw my tears. They were not an invitation to the outside world. They gave relief and, like laughter, expressed a feeling much more than demanded a reaction.
I am glad not to be at home. That way I don't have to deal with my family. Each one of us had very different relationships with our Oma Muck, and everyone has a different need to mourn.
I have never been sad like this. My sadness was without rage, shame or a feeling of impotence. A bit astonished, I find that this grief is like other pains, a tightrope walk between pain and comfort, as bitter as it is sweet. In the beginning, it's unpleasant and takes your breath away until it hurts a little less every second. Under the pain is the memory of moments, days and thoughts that have been shared and can no longer be shared. Boom. Another stab.
Never will I ever be able to delete this blog and her comments. I must continue. Even if the reader numbers have not yet risen immeasurably and my income is still generated from my savings. There is no way back.