Balancing business and bereavement.
Once again, I have not been good at blogging, but as the title suggests, I have reason.
Today's blog is not the nicest of subjects, but unfortunately this is something we all have to deal with in life.
In July my Nan was diagnosed with terminal stomach cancer. Two weeks prior to this, she was rushed into hospital with some very horrible symptoms. To begin with I thought she had a burst stomach ulcer. Within days of being in hospital she was given a leaflet on cancer. We were all shocked, but thought right it's the beginning, she'll be treated and will live a normal life. Then we were all told she had a life expectancy of 6-12 months. Shocked is an understatement, life shattering is more adequate.
September 20th my Nan passed away. No one was ready, we all focused on the 6-12 months, never did we think 2 1/2 months later she'd be gone. The family had no time to process what was happening. The only positive we see is that her pain was not prolonged.
Let me tell you about my Nan, Valerie. This side of my family is small. There's Nan & Grandad; my Mom, my Aunty and my 3 cousins. When I was born my mom still lived with my nan due to my dad being in the army and nan helped my mom a lot with adjusting to being a parent. Then when my Mom and Dad separated when I was 4 and we went back to live with my nan. Nan is/was (still getting my head around using past tense) the rock of the family. If you had a problem, you went to Nan, She was the Vito Corleone of the family... A little less gangster though... only a little!
My relationship with my nan would seem weird to some, but we were close, even if she did find me annoying. My nan was never a maternal nan, she wasn't a lovey dovey nan, but boy we had a laugh. She was a very strong woman... or very stubborn... ok both. She would have you in stitches though. From a teenager, I'd get told by all the family, "you're turning into your nan". Looking back, they weren't wrong. I have definitely got my nan's personality over my mom's. My mom is quite placid and wouldn't say boo to a goose. Whereas nan would not tolerate any rubbish! She was outspoken, stubborn, independent and protective. I am definitely nan!
Most teenagers get embarrassed at the thought of family holidays, not me! At 15 and 20 I went to Disneyland Paris with my nan! These were some of the funniest weekends of my life! I have so many happy memories from these trips, it would take another essay of a blog to share them with you.
So there's an insight into my relationship with my Nan. She wasn't just my Nan, she was the strongest woman in my life! She helped raise me and mold me into the little person I am today. Now she's not here, I feel a little lost! I have always been quite a head strong person. I am lucky enough to say I haven't struggled with life issues, things have happened and I've found a way to deal with them. This is the first time I can honestly say, I'm not dealing with it.
Being a small family, I have helped a lot in dealing with the awful paper work and funeral side of losing a family member. The day nan passed away, she told my aunty that I was strong like her, I think this was her way of saying My aunt and I will be able to look after everyone. This has been true, but doing this I've had to step back from my business, well I say this, I have pretty much worked everyday since nan has passed away, but I haven't been my usual productive self.
I have felt so guilty about not being able to do my work like I normally do. Andrew has had to keep telling me nan's death is still fresh, I have to keep reminding myself this! I told my clients what happened and that unfortunately this is affecting my work and I've been overwhelmed by how caring and thoughtful everyone has been! As a business owner you do put pressure on yourself, you have to do! Through times like this, I think you need to be kind to yourself.
I'm trying not to beat myself up about not working at 100%. I know I will be 100% again, but I am allowing myself the time to work slower, to process what's happened and find the balance of my business and my grief.
To anyone who has or is going through a similar situation, remember to be kind to yourself. Your clients/ work will understand, be honest and let them know you need to allow time for your bereavement. You will be ok again, I can't tell you when as I'm not there, but you will learn how to carry on.
So raise a very weak cuppa (that's how she liked her tea, 1 second dunk and 3 grains of sugar) to my wonderfully barmy nan, Valerie!