Letters from Lockdown 10: Kate Briggs-Price

Dear Granny,

I cried thinking of you today. For the first time, no… the second. I cried at your funeral but I haven’t cried since. Water for some reason hasn’t been the way my grief in losing you has manifested. I have lost people before, you know on Dad’s side of the family – but I don’t think I’ve ever felt loss like this. I realise now that I’ve always been numb to losing people, in all the different ways people can be lost. It’s only now that I’m beginning to heal in my mind finally that I really know what the pain of loss feels like. I couldn’t think without feeling it, it immobilised my body – not outwardly but inwardly. It wasn’t loud, it was quiet – so quiet that it felt like only I was noticing it. Like I’d turned into someone else, and no one had noticed.

The most amazing thing about you is that, I wasn’t alone when you were here. I only realise now that I relied on you, because you were always so happy to see me, would ply me with cakes and chutneys, would tell your friends about me, would always answer the phone when I called. A reliable kind of love that I took for granted. I took for granted that you weren’t just my Granny, but you were Mum’s mum. Watching her care for you I realise that what truly loving a person looks like, she would have and did do everything that was needed. Held us Grandpa and Auntie Sue, with such admirable strength, I can only hope that I can prove to be as caring a person one day. All I could offer, was punching someone in the name of raising money for you, for Beaumond House. It wasn’t really much help though was it. Although, it did give Grandpa something to tell the nurses who visited. You were so well looked after, I’m just so sorry I had to leave you. My logical mind knows I would have been no help, only another thing for people to worry about. But, really I should have stayed rather than rushing back to some university livestream that in hindsight, was no where near as important as you. Letting the people in the media societies down wouldn’t have felt as bad as having to tell you I was leaving to go back to Southampton. To hear the pause in your voice before you said okay, to see you look at me and say you were proud but it only hitting my ears like a goodbye.

What hurt most was trying to shut all that down. Act like it didn’t happen, and get on with it because that’s who Kate Briggs-Price is. Nothing effects her, nothing can slow her down – whoever she is. Keeping calm and carrying on to the point where I nearly didn’t come home, and without Tom, I wouldn’t have seen you. I didn’t have the mechanism inbuilt in me to ask for help. But he got me home, for your last two good days, before I returned to the place of single lane thinking. That thinking got me through until January, until things started falling apart in a way I’ve never felt before. I haven’t been that desperate in a very long time, and just as I begin to take a breath of fresh air – I’m sucked back inside of myself. In lockdown. Currently feeling very ill, and not knowing what kind of person I’m meant to be behaving like, because I’m not sure what behaving like myself actually is. Without the bells and whistles of overachieving. I’m not sure how I’m going to come out of it Granny, I haven’t been able to visit Grandpa – or anyone for that matter, I will call him though. I just hope that everything I’ve tried to put in place to pull myself back together, won’t come unravelled in these hard times. I think writing this letter may be the first step in continuing my progress, I’ve learnt so much about kindness and caring towards other people because of you, now I just need to learn to apply that to myself.

Thinking of you always,

Kate.

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