15 May 2018

When Death Knocked At My Door

I'm searching my memory banks for all the times I've had to tell someone that a loved one has died. I'm 19-years-old and grateful that death hasn't ever knocked on my door. I've seen death bang on the doors of distant family members, one time relentlessly when three members died within months of each other. But never so close to me. Never on my door. That changed today.

This morning, with a gentle knock, death came into my home and swooped my grandmother out. Granny, which is what I called her, died peacefully in her sleep after being diagnosed with the big 'C', particularly the pancreatic kind, back in December. At some point this morning, I breathed in and out- unassumingly, as my lungs have done since October 5 1998 and yet whilst I did this involuntary, repetitive expansion and contraction of my lungs, which I have done thousands of times before and hope to do thousands of times more, my grandmother-along with many others- took air into her lungs and never breathed out.

Granny and I weren't close geographically for most of my life. She lived in South Africa when I was too young to remember and ultimately moved to Greece when my grandfather died. Death knocked on our door then, but I was too young to remember that too. I'd see her once a year when I went to Greece on holiday and then only a handful (or fewer) times then. But, she called often, and we connected over our shared passion for sewing once she found out I started sewing lessons. We'd spend hours talking about pattern-making, fashion styles of decades gone by and health. Granny was always going on about health. Up until that day in December when we found out about the 'big C' she had been the paragon of health. At 88-years-old she could do head stands, frequented the gym and had a bikini-body that even I envy now. She'd always led a mindful life.

"These last few days had been particularly bad for granny"

Back to the knocking. I've confronted death very few times in my life. I've passed on news about someone's death to my sister but the relation between ourselves and the deceased was never this close. My mom called me at 05:30 today, on Mother's Day, and told me the news I'd known was coming for a while now. I handle death well, but I can't say the same for my sister. My mom asked me to let my sister sleep in a bit and then go knock at her- the way I imagined death knocking on Granny's door this morning- and tell her that Granny died.

It's not usually in my routine to pitch up at my sister's door with the ingredients for pancakes in hand, on a Sunday morning, so I'm hoping I'll be able to nod my head and pass a knowing look through my eyes and she'll know. These last few days had been particularly bad for granny. We'd been getting constant updates on our family's group chat which had all my dad's siblings and their children on it. So, we saw this coming.

I've had to break the news of death before, but never like this. 

It's the day after now and my sister and I are both doing well- the pancakes were something happy amongst the sadness. I know this won't be my last encounter with death but I hope we don't meet again for a long while. Death came knocking at our door, and it didn't take much to stop him- not in Granny's case, anyways. He barged in and took what was his- like he always does.

Have you ever lost someone close to you?

Till next time-


  1. I am so sorry for your loss! My grandma was like yours and was so healthy. My mom always joked that she was going to outlive all of us! Unfortunately, she died from complications after having a stroke.

    Effortlessly Sophisticated

  2. This is such a beautiful post, Steph and I'm so sorry for your loss <3

    Em xo

  3. That's so sad! I'm sorry! Thankfully no one close to me has died.

    Nabila | Hot Town Cool Girl


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