Tyranny of Pink

me and grandpa on my wedding day | Tyranny of Pink

When you’re so sad that you don’t even have the words

Do you know those moments when you’ve just gotten really bad news and you don’t know what to do with yourself? I’m currently having one of those moments. I’ve tried to work and been so distracted that I gave up so I decided to watch series but I have no idea what I just watched so I decided to mess around on the internet but then I didn’t know where to even start so I found myself back here. Writing.

As far back as I can remember, writing has brought me a sense of calm. Like a safe harbour from the storm. A place my mind can just let go and think okay – you’ve got this. You can just let go. I fall apart on the page, allowing me to maintain some sort of calm in real life. writing has some sort of secret power for me. It gives me the ability to be a superhero. To carry on with my day without breaking a sweat even though everything is a total and complete mess.

At this point, I suppose you’re wondering what I’m on about. So, in the spirit of open and honest writing I’m going to share it with you; my delightful readers who I know can handle a not so happy and deeply personal post. After all, isn’t that what my entire blog is about. Not having to pretend the world is fine when it’s literally falling apart?

The bad news

I little while ago, my grandfather was diagnosed with cancer.Β It was in his spine and they had to do a biopsy to find out a bit more. I knew it wouldn’t be good news but it’s important to always be positive. Well, yesterday the results came back and today I got a call that has thrown everything into a tailspin. He has been given up to a month to live.

A month!

30 days. Maybe 31 days? 4 weeks! 4 Mondays, 4 Tuesdays, 4 Wednesdays, 4 Thursdays, 4 Fridays, 4 Saturdays, 4 Sundays. Maybe 5. And there’s no guarantee he will even last the full month. If we’re being totally honest with each other. I suppose it depends. I struggled in this moment to be sure that my maths is correct. I’m still not certain so please don’t judge me if I’ve gotten things wrong. I’m usually such a perfectionist but today, I’m writing to pass the time between my sobbing. I’m writing to remind myself that this is a part of life. We all live and we all die and it’s just a natural state of affairs. And yet, somehow, it still doesn’t make sense to me today.

I’m 6 weeks away from having my baby. He could come anytime between now and then. On the weekend I will make the trip down to visit my grandfather – for the last time. I hope he will last until then. My dreams of him meeting my son are slowly drifting out the window. Now, instead, I have to focus on my last visit to him. On knowing he felt Oden kick in my tummy and at least, that’s something. My son, who is named in honour of this man. Christopher, the first in our family. Oden Christopher, in his honour. A man he will never meet.

β€œCarve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.”
― Shannon L. Alder

A man who changed the course of my life. Who has been the pillar of my family and supported all of us through so much. Through everything. Without asking for anything in return.

My grandfather, who took me into his home at age 3 and accepted that I was now one of his. A man who raised me, even when he had a troop of his own to his name. Who fetched me every single day from school for most of my primary school years. Who carried me to my bed when I pretended to fall asleep on the couch while watching TV. Who nursed me through sick nights and drove me up and down to Drs, to sports events, to play dates. Who taught me how to drive and who always told me the truth – when no one else would.

My gramps, a man who taught me to live with integrity and honesty. A man who told me that all I have is my word and if my word is dishonest then I have nothing. Who showed me that compassion and kindness are to be given freely. This man, taught me the value of money, of watching the pennies so that the pounds take care of themselves.

He taught me to always value my family above all else. He watched me graduate from University, beaming proudly over the education that I had, that he always pushed for, that he himself had never had.

And because my dad couldn’t, he walked me down the aisle on my wedding day, handing me over to my husband with a nervous laugh. Looking back, I’m not sure who was more nervous walking down that aisle, me or him.

My grampy taught me to always be the leader. “Be the head and never the tail” he would say. He taught me many things. Losing him is going to be one of the most difficult and trying times in my life.

He sang this song to me, for most of my life until he decided I was too old for it;

“Joni my darling I love you,

love you with all of my heart.

Beautiful beautiful Joni,

I love my Joni very much”

…..I wanted to tell you that I probably wouldn’t be posting as regularly as usual over the next little while. I’m sure you can see why and I know you will forgive me for my silence.

Jonelle |Tyranny of Pink

16 thoughts on “When you’re so sad that you don’t even have the words”

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  4. It took me a few days to get the strength to open this post and read it, and as I expected with tears in my eyes. I remember holidays spent in Swaziland with you and I have such fond memories of your granddad. It’s such a shock to hear such sad news and I know that no words can ease the pain you’re going through right now, but I am always here for you. Sending you love and hugs and strength.


    1. <3 It has been a terrible shock for all of us. Apparently he has been ill for the last ten years but the symptoms hadn't shown up until now. I feel like you always expect there to be more time but then there isn't.

      Thanks for the lovely message.... it is very much appreciated!


  5. My heart aches for you Jonelle. It is so hard to see a love one ailing and dying. He sounds like the most wonderful man. I am so tired of cancer – it is busy attacking and taking so many people from my life. Wishing you all love, acceptance and a lot of grace in the weeks ahead.

    1. Thank you Cat, it’s the hardest thing to experience. It’s the moments when he’s lucid you live for but then the next second he has no idea what you’re saying. I think watching him reduced to this person who isn’t certain of his surroundings is the hardest. He has always been the wisest and smartest person I know and we’ve spent days discussing political issues and now, he hardly recognises what’s going on around him. Cancer is everywhere, it has taken so many loved ones of so many around us all. I’m sorry it’s in your life as well, this is my first experience of it and one thing for certain, it has no mercy! Thank you for your beautiful words <3

  6. So sorry to hear you are going through this. Thank you for sharing it with us. I lost my Dad suddenly 4 years ago with no warning and I felt like a puppet that had it’s strings cut. It was like I was drifting with no grounding roots. I was a mess for a very long time and went through many emotions including anger which surprised me. What I have learnt is that you are allowed to fall apart, it takes time but slowly you learn to cope. Grief still grabs me at unexpected moments but that is ok, I remember him every day, he is a part of me and I see elements of him in my children so he is never really gone. Your Gramps sounds like an amazing man, and inspiration and he will always be a part of you and your family. Take all the time you need and a little more. Be kind to yourself xx

    1. Thank you Fiona. I can’t tell you how much your message means to me. I lost my dad suddenly 9 years ago as well and I always thought it would have been easier if he had been sick as I would have had time to come to terms with the inevitable approach of death but now faced with a slow trip towards the end, I feel as much pain as I did then. I feel as sad as I did then and I’m also just as angry. Somehow I keep trying to tell myself that he’s old and that should make it easier but it doesn’t does it. Death is something that I don’t wish anyone has to deal with and yet it’s inevitable that everyone does. I’m sorry you lost your dad. The pain honestly never goes away. Just bit by bit time makes it easier to cope with and you fall apart less easily than you once did. My grandfather really is an amazing man and we are lucky to have had him even for the time we have. Thank you again for your lovely, warm and kind words! xx

  7. This post is so beautiful yet extremely sad ….Brings tears to my eyes and pain in my heart. I’m so sorry Joni, your gramps is truly exceptional and has been that pillar of strength for your entire family throughout the years as well as inspirational with a huge heart for everyone that knows him. I have fond memories of Sunday lunches in their home with your crazy joyful mostly chaotic family, and eating so much that I could hardly walk…and your gramps was always the peaceful, sensible and humble person just enjoying his lunatic family all around him. He truly is a very special person and I just hope he finds the strength to hold on for another 6 weeks….. I can’t imagine what your gran must be going through, I’m thinking of you all Joni <3 <3

    1. Thanks Carol, it means so much to me that he brought meaning to the lives of other people. There is and will never be another person like him in this world. He just accepts and loves without asking for anything. Your memories of him are so lovely to hear because they make me realise that it’s not just me who sees him with rose tinted glasses but that this is just who he is. My gran is old herself, I’m not sure she has really accepted or understands exactly how serious things are. There is so much love in their home right now as all my family makes their way to be with them… in these last days! Thank you for your amazing message <3

    1. Thank you so much Laverne! It’s a shock when things progress so rapidly. Your kind words are very much appreciated! x

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