Today marks the 8 year anniversary of my grandad’s passing. I was 13 years old and it was my first time experiencing the death of someone close to me. It felt surreal. I genuinely could not believe that it was true when my mother sat me down to tell me. I was distraught. My grandad was more important to me than I think I had ever realised until that moment..
His funeral was 10 days later. I had no idea what a funeral would be like, and for a while I was doing okay. I was quiet, and nervous, and a whole lot of other things. I was certainly numb. If you had asked me on the morning of that day if I was upset, I think I probably would’ve said no. I didn’t feel like I was. That was, until we entered the chapel and the service began.
I can’t remember at exactly what point this song was played in the service, all I know is that a lump formed in my throat, tears sprang to my eyes and my body began shaking violently. I began the grieving process right there in the middle of the ceremony.
Until that point, I had always like R.E.M.’s music, I still do. But I cannot listen to this song any more. I can look back fondly on memories of my grandad and our time together and I can smile at how amazing he was at so many things. But I still miss him way too much to listen to this song.
Normally, I am not very good at remembering events and the feelings associated with them, it feels more like I have read them somewhere and that is how I know what happened and the emotions I felt at the time. But as soon as this song starts playing, wherever I am and however I am feeling, the sharp pain of grief stabs at my heart again and I re-mourn for what I have lost.
People say that it gets better with time, and it does. I am not denying that. But I am certain that there will never come a day when I can listen to this song and not breakdown. It gets easier, but it never goes away. I still miss him more than I can ever express. Every year, on this day, an invisible cloud hangs over me. I know it does for my mum and my nan too. I just hope that one day, when I think back on that incredible man, I am filled with more memories of happiness than sadness, and the ghost of this song is not forever haunting the image of his face in my mind.