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Monday, December 19, 2011

Old people die and other stories..

Hi my name is Emelia but you can call me Em.

You may remember me from previous blogs however it's been so long you will be forgiven for thinking: "Who is this uppity slack mole and why is she here?"

Look, I'll admit it. When my Grandfather died I went into survival mode.

Writing causes me to open my veins and go to that place in my brain where I lock away emotionally challenging things.

Obviously losing a loved family member caused that area to implode so the writing of meaningful words became a little too painful.

I'm back bitches and ready to go.

For those of you experiencing this blog for the first time, welcome!

WARNING: My spelling and grammar are both appalling as I suffer from a glamorous case of dyslexia.

I try to get others to proof read for me however my ten year old insists on going to school during the day, so sometimes blogs go up without the benefit of someone who has a mediocre grip on the English language and all her rules having seen them.

If you think you can handle the occasional mistake and a little bit of swearing then press on. If you think It'll be too much then I suggest you turn back now.

For those of you who stuck around let us press on. I'm glad those other bitches went, they were all so judgemental!

Oh one more thing. I use the word BITCH, a lot. I have reclaimed it and in the context of this blog it is a term of powerful endearment.

I thought I'd write a bit about how people shat their nests when they were faced with me, after finding out my beloved Ted (Grandfather) had died.

I thought I could give you a little guide to dealing with people who have just experienced loss. It's not the bible and it may just apply to people like me (emotionally charged nut cases barely hanging onto sanity) but I thought it may help a few of you out.

The morning I found out Ted has passed away I was in Canberra covering the Queen's visit for "The Project."

I woke up at 4am as I was also filling in on breakfast radio for SAFM. I look at my phone and saw that I had 7 missed calls from my Mother at around 12:30am.

I knew straight away it was Granddad. He had been very unwell for a few months and the family had been keeping a bedside vigil (it's true theses things really do happen) so that he would't be alone when he finally went.

I called her straight away and said "When did it happen?"

Mum replied "Midnight."

I told her I'd get the first plane back to Melbourne.

I called "Showtravel" who; as their name suggests, arrange all the travel stuff for "The Project."

I have to say their level of service was exceptional.

I woke up their on call lady, who's name I cannot recall and I am sorry for that as she was a bloody gem.

I explained what had happened and as soon as she said "I'm very sorry Em, what can I do to help?"
I broke down.

I mean snot coming out of my eyes the whole bit. The truck of sadness that smashed into me was almost unbearable, the lovely woman told me if I could get to Canberra airport in 20 minutes I could get the first flight out.

I packed very quickly and had the hotel arrange a cab.

The whole way I was sobbing, the cab driver must have thought me crazy.

I arrived at the airport in 19 minutes and sprinted to the gate.

They were closing the flight as I approached I explained/yelled hysterically: "I HAVE TO GET ON THAT PLANE!"

This now brings us to lesson one in the "How to deal with someone who has experienced loss" class.

As the lady on the gate scanned my ticket she looked at me and said: "Someone's had a big night. Perhaps you should have got to bed earlier knowing you had an early flight."

Friends, I had a choice here. I could keep my mouth shut and take her light scolding on the chin or make her feel like a right mole and explain why my face looked puffy and snotty.

I think we all know the road I chose to drive down.

I looked her in the eye, squared my shoulders, wiped my snotty nose with the sleeve of my coat and said: "I've just found out my Grandfather has died and I am trying to get home. I was only made aware of this flight 20 minutes ago."

As the realisation of her mistake dawned on her and as I saw her go to atone I held my hand up and said: "Just let me on the plane please." (Someone hand me my Oscar now.)

I know it was petty but I wanted to cause someone a little pain in a feeble attempt to take away some of mine. A ridiculous concept I know but at the time, I was not thinking straight.

During the flight she approached me and apologised profusely. I even got an extra bottle of midget water out of her so you know... Every cloud and all that.

Your lesson here kids is if you come across a person who looks as though someone has died.. Chances are, they have. Tread with care.

The next lesson comes coutsey of my dear friend Tommy Little. I adore this man, he is lovely, funny and usually caring. Upon hearing what had happened with Ted he responded: "Oh Em... (awkward pause 5, 4,3,2,1) I... (More awkward silence) Old people die yeah?"

JESUS H CHRIST! Yes Captain Obvious they do but it's different this time. It was MY OLD PERSON.

He didn't mean anything by it and has been an incredible support to me during this time, I guess he just said EXACTLY WHAT CAME INTO HIS HEAD at that EXACT MOMENT.

Another friend said: "I guess your parents will be able to save some money now they don't have the nursing home fees to pay."

Well, yes. I guess they will but for CHRIST SAKE! You know.. OUCH.

If your friend loses someone the following responses are acceptable:

1. Would you like some brainless gossip? I can distract you with filth for 5 minutes.

2. I'm sorry you have to go through this. I love you very much.

3. That is shit house. Nothing I can say will take your pain away but I'm here should you need to talk, drink, punch or cry.

That's it. Simple enough huh? Honest, real emotion works in this situation.

My "favourite" reaction to the death of my Grandfather came via the boys I was doing the breakfast show with. It wasn't so much a reaction as it was an inappropriate suggestion for a stunt that hadn't really been thought through before they emailed it to me.

All the big things were happening in the world that week. The Queen was in town, my Grandfather died and Lindsay Lohan was doing her community service.

The boys thought it would be a good idea for us to replicate her community service. That the 3 of us should have to do the exact same things as her. I'm not sure how good your pop culture knowledge is but she was doing her time in a FUCKING MORGUE.

I only had one day off during this time (the day he passed) and when I went to check my emails after I'd visited the nursing home I saw the subject line "We should hang out in a morgue."

YEP. The boys had suggested, on the day he had died, without really thinking it through, that we should all hang out with a bunch of dead bodies.

Again, I had a choice. I could have just gone along with the idea OR point out why I may be a little sensitive to this suggestion.

For a second time, I chose to take the low road.

I sent back an email that said the following:


Forgive me but I just don't think I could endure a day in a morgue considering my Grandfather passed away last night. It's just a little too close to home. 

Thanks for the suggestion though.


They were both horrified and were just being stupid boys but still. BLOODY HELL!

It's now been about 9 weeks since he left me. I can honestly say he would have found all the above reactions hilarious as he had a sick sense of humour like me. I think everything has it's funny side and I am a big fan of real, awkward situations. You know, as long as they are not happening to me!

I miss you Ted. You were a good egg, never to be forgotten. (I'm sobbing now. Right now, shit it's hard.)

See you all tomorrow.

E xx


Ingrid said...

I am so sorry for your loss. It will get easier but it does take a very long time. I am sure your grandpa would have found your stories hilarious.

PS - I am glad you gave it back to the flight attendant, it's just no on for her to talk to anyone like that. x

Kez said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. And so sorry that some people are thoughtless nobs!
Something about death and grief just freaks people out. Last year my brother in law died of cancer after suffering for six months with several close calls. When I explain my time taken out from work to support my husband and his family or my absence from mass amounts of social events in 2010, people just go quiet or act like I didn't say it. Fucking annoying!

Judd Exley said...

I'm sorry you have to go through this. I love you like meringue with peaks that you learned to do on Masterchef.

I think, when we finally meet someday (meet again? Think we both yelled at kids simultaneously at Lotterywest Playground one day years ago), I'll give you the Big Hug you deserve.

And I'll totally wear deodorant... now THAT'S love.