A Grandparent's Experience
Updated: May 21, 2020
How can so much joy and so much pain happen in just nine months?
Becoming a grandparent for the first time was a delight and a revelation. I was thrilled to learn that it was going to happen, but had no idea how much love I would have for this little person, and how wonderful it would be to watch my own child become a mother. (I should say here that I loved being a mum myself, even though it took nearly twenty years to achieve it!). Rory was just a gorgeous boy – as so many of you know.
I live ninety minutes away from Matt and Amy but tried to visit weekly and had had the immense privilege of being at his birth. I occasionally baby sat and as Rory got a little older, I was able to take him out for a short break whilst Amy did some singing teaching. Pushing a pushchair up and down the hills of Bristol is good exercise for a grandparent!
Four and a half months on and I was devastated to hear the news of his tumour.
Watching Amy and Matt as well as Rory, going through the next three months was so painful. It’s a mother’s job to ease the way for their child – to make everything better, right? But I couldn’t fix this, I could only stand on the sidelines and watch. Listen. Give them a break occasionally.
I am so grateful that I was allowed to spend as much time as I did with Rory in his short sweet life, but I am particularly grateful that I was able to spend time with him in hospital. A few days before Christmas, I stayed with Rory while Amy and Matt went out Christmas shopping. Despite being on chemo, Rory and I had a lovely and precious time, when I chatted to him, sang to him, held him in my arms whilst he slept. I will treasure those two hours for ever. I had downloaded a video of Peppa Pig – because I knew he liked it. Sadly, in my haste I had downloaded it in Spanish, and Rory clearly knew it wasn’t his mother tongue. Granny got a very old-fashioned look!
Again, just a few days before he died, I had an hour alone with him, save for a very discreet PICU nurse, telling him how much I loved him. These times were such a gift from Amy and Matt.
Early on, two of the hospital consultants made it very clear how important extended family would be. And I am so grateful to all the staff who made me feel so welcome. And who made the little family’s lives easier in so many ways, going above and beyond what was required of them.
Losing Rory has been one of the hardest things in my life. Amy and Matt’s grief must be worse by a hundredfold – and I can’t do anything to make that better. Not a day goes by when I don’t think about Rory, but it has been made just a little easier by their generosity in sharing a little bit of his time with me, at a time when they probably didn’t want to leave his side for a second.
As you can see below, I braved a tattoo for the first time in my life, and always wear a silver heart with his tiny finger print on it.
Rory will live in my heart and my memories always and forever.