The Old Photograph

I felt annoyed and frustrated when I woke up this morning.
Needing to get stuff done and spending most of my time doing stuff for everyone else.
I am feeling like I am losing myself within this at times. I think perhaps I would like to be lost. Only I do care. I really care. But the frustration in not being able to just do some of the things I want to do feels quite difficult. Maybe I am selfish?
I watched Merlin last night. It’s like a little escape for me and my girl. It was all about forgiveness. A tortured soul that could not rest until he had received atonement for all the wrongs.
I cried when the child’s voice said I forgive you.
Why do I care so much?
Last night my brother sent me a very rare picture of my family. With my dad in it too.
My mum found it. We were all in it. Including aunty I who I never much liked.
Immediately I laughed. What a rag tag bunch we looked. Proper old style home made and hand me downs but all dressed up for a wedding. There were a lot of memories surrounding that photo.
My next thought was what’s Aunty I doing in the photo?
She was bossy, opinionated, thought she was better. One of my nans many siblings (9 of them)
My Nan should have been in that photo not her. Aunty I always thought she knew best. She had more money and this made her the authority on everything.
But there was nothing warm about her. She was the one where you were told give your Aunty a kiss and you would be holding back until you had to kiss her under duress.
But my Nan adored her.
My Nan was tiny, sweet gentle but also with a very strong will which I saw as I got older, right up until when she died.
She took care of my cousin who suffered with severe mental health disorders. He found his mum (my mums sister) lying dead on her bed with her wrists slashed when he came home from school.
Aunty N suffered  with depression as far back as I can remember. She killed herself shortly after my dad left. It broke my mums heart and on top I remember my mum losing some of her hair in all the sadness and devastation of that time.
My Nan took care of my cousin J. He used to go everywhere with her. We hated how he used to talk to her. When she came to stay at ours he would have to come too. We didn’t want him there. He must have felt that I’m sure but he came anyways. We were selfish in just wanting our lovely Nan there without him spoiling it.
So easy to be more understanding when it doesn’t impact on your world or people you love. And we were kids.
I would spoil my Nan so much. Try and make her feel so loved. She was sooo loved. With her little ginger wine watching pride and prejudice. Never saw her so happy. Want another chocolate Nan?Need a cushion Nan?Are you warm enough Nan? In return she would clean everything. You couldn’t put a cup down without finding it clean and sparkling 2 minutes later of the sideboard. She adored my mum and my mum adored her. She also adored us kids. I remember her once When we were older on Christmas Day holding court with all the boys. My older brother had brought over a friend from America who kept high fiving everyone. It made me laugh when he high fived my Nan. I could tell it amused her and could see was enjoying being centre of attention with all the boys. Even though she never looked for it.
I loved all the times that she was there.
But cousin J was always her priority. If he wasn’t involved then she would have nothing to do with it.
I remember her once coming to mine after I moved. A very rare Saturday with just me her and my mum (I don’t know where J was) lunch at the Albert, always ham egg and chips. It was very close to Christmas and I wanted to make a trifle to take to my mums. So they came to my place after. I had moved in with P near to where my Nan lived. I’ve never flown far from the nest. London has always been my home with my Nan and Gran. I always fitted there. I must have been about 24 then I think. I didn’t know how much sherry to put in. My Nan was like, “put a little more in, a little more, oh throw in a bit more. You want to taste it.”
That sherry trifle could have acted as a tranquilliser for a rhinoceros.
I think I pretty much I threw the whole bottle in. We laughed so much. And then I forgot to take it on Christmas Day. I accidentally left it at P’s mum and dads as we stopped on Christmas morning to see them. They told us on Boxing Day that they had helped themself to it and slept for most of the afternoon.
That was my one and only attempt at making a trifle.
Im completely going off on tangents but I think I’m needing to release something and this is helping.
Our sadness when my Nan died was also tinged with a lot of anger. There are many unanswered questions. My Nan was really well before she died but she fell down the stairs. At around that time there was a lot of concern about my nans wellbeing. She had been seen with some bruises that she said got from walking into things or slipping over. Perhaps! But J was now older and his mental health condition was not managed very well. You could see his anger a lot. He always scared me if I’m honest but he never messed with my mum. She was obviously very protective of my Nan. My mum believed he was hurting Nan but as hard as she tried to get my Nan to live with her she would not have it. My place is with J and there she remained until she fell down those stairs.
Seeing my Nan fade away was one on the saddest things of life. Reading her the paper, Holding her hand, stroking her face that felt like little girl’s skin (she had a childlike quality about her though her whole life) and telling her how much she was loved and life would never be as wonderful without her.
The sadness that comes from love can feel completely unbearable in moments can’t it. And yet there is nothing so beautiful as love. Nothing.
And I feel better just in thinking about my Nan and feeling a few tears washing away that frustration. I am so lucky in life. I love and have felt loved. In all the different ways that a person can.
When sometimes I struggle with those I care so much about and feel like I’m wasting my time or not valued or questioning why they bother at all I am reminded that there is no right or wrong way to this. I do it how I do it but more importantly I completely and utterly feel it.
And that is why I don’t want to be perfect. Because there is no perfect version of feeling. Feelings just are.
The simple girls or the Katie girls!

I have and always will be a Katie girl. Who wants to just be simple



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