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I No Longer Blame Myself

Ellie, Derbyshire, UK
July 2002

This story isn't scary but it is sad. The beginning is necessary for it all to make sense. Please bare with me.

When I got study leave from school my friend, Mark, and I decided that we were going to go into school for the morning lessons and then I was going to see my Nan and help her because she was nannying my auntie's children (Like she used to do for my brother and me), but as I walked there with Mark who lived on the next road from Nan's, he said "Come and hang out at mine for a bit". Thinking I could see Nan tomorrow I went.

An hour later, my mum rang crying saying my Nanna had had a heart attack and was in the hospital. Luckily she was near the doctors surgery and they got her in hospital in time. We all thought it was going to be ok and we all started saying we hadn't done enough to help, not that she would have accepted it. She was a tough old bird!

After my English exam I went home and found my dad crying, he told me that in the morning my nan had passed away. I was devastated. It tore the family apart, I was told I didn't have the right to grieve, by my mum's sister (they were nan's daughters) as it was their mum who had died! So I didn't tell anyone that I thought it was my fault that nan had died, I was going to visit her, to help her. If I had gone I could have prevented it. This thought still does haunt me now.

I rapidly went downhill, I thought I had killed her. I started smoking cannabis and not going home. I got lower marks than I should have in my exams.

One night (one of the rare ones when I went home) I dreamt that it was that day again, and I went to Nan's instead of Mark's. But when I got to the front door, It was just like a conservatory door, just a frame with glass, and inside I could see Nan having a heart attack, I tried really hard to get in that door screaming and banging my fists. but she wouldn't open the door. I collapsed crying at the door, and then my nan was behind me looking well and younger. She hugged me and wiped away my tears saying: "I was going to go anyway. You being there would have hurt you more. I'm happy and with Bill (my Gramps)" I smiled at her and she went on saying "For God's sake lass pull yourself together! You were always the strong one, be strong for me." I hugged her again and then I woke up. I could still smell lavender which she always used to wear.

I went to college, got my qualifications, and went on to become a manager at a local firm, and I got married six months ago. My Nan still visits me in dreams but I no longer blame myself.

Thank you for reading this.

Ellie, Derbyshire, UK
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