My Prince Loki
The car drive to my Grandmother’s that day was awkward with neither my Mother nor I talking. Although my mind was racing with the usual beliefs I had as to why Loki left along as to why I hadn’t seen my Grandmother for so long.
After my Father had been sent off to prison and had eventually died I began seeing my Grandmother every second weekend and practically begun like a second parent to me. And while I haven’t truly touched on my Grandmother’s influence in this, she did have a profound one in regards to my upbringing just like my Mother and Loki did.
Without her I wouldn’t know a lot of things such as personal respect, manners and how to care for plants.
So why hadn’t I seen her for so long?
I naïvely thought at one point that she might have found Loki and was keeping him to herself. Because even though Loki found my Grandmother irritating, he did actually a deep respect for her. He once said that my Grandmother reminded him of his own Mother with her sternness or her patience’s when she was teaching a skill to me. Loki also loved my Grandmother’s garden and when we played Hide ‘n’ Seek it was one of his favorite places to hide due to all of the different types of flowers and brushes.
So when we arrived, with this in mind, I practically jumped out the car running up ahead going straight to the backyard not hearing my Mother’s yells to, “say hello to Grandma first.”
Like with everything those first two months without Loki, he was the only thing on my mind.
I was looking through every flower brush and around every flower pounding the ground every time I went to look under. I was calling Loki’s name out with every look, my voice had gone from hopeful cries to panicky shouts. I tried every bush, every hedge, every corner but he wasn’t anywhere to be seen.
A couple of times I mistook a green flash as he’s grand green cape. When I thought I saw Loki all the hollow and empty feelings that I had been having disappeared replacing it with joy and relief. Only for this to flatten for me to realize that this time it was truly my imagination.
I looked for a good hour around her yard, my yelling by that point was crocked and tired, unwanted acceptance settling in that Loki was in fact gone.
He was no longer my Prince as I was no longer a Princess.
With burning cheeks from my tears I walked back towards the house. I kept my head down most of the way wrapped in my own self-pity not even bothering to look up. All I was thinking was that he was gone, the idea to check through my Grandmother’s house pushed away.
It was almost like fatigue had just sunken in for me. I was too tired to look anymore; I had finally given up after two months of always being on alert looking for him. I had looked everywhere where I thought Loki would be and where I thought he wouldn’t. My Grandmother’s garden had been the last straw on the horses back as the saying goes.
It was only when I was near the end of my Grandmother’s grand garden was when I become aware of my audience. Up ahead I saw my Mum and my Grandmother standing on the edge of the garden and the court yard with another woman holding my Grandmother up. From memory she was dressed in a bright purple scrub, her blonde hair in a high bun away from her angelic face.
All three women were standing there looking at me with a heavy looks of sadness, which I thought instinctively was for me.
“He’s not here.” I told them, my words seem to suspend themselves in the air making me feel like they didn’t hear me.
“He’s gone Mum. Loki’s not here.” I said again with my voice wobbling hoping to see some emotions for me across their faces.
The only emotion I got was from the stranger holding my Grandmother who pressed her wobbling lips together with a regretful stare in her eyes.
My Mother held out her hand to me in the growing silence,
“Come on Louisa, there something we have to tell you.”
Confused I took the hand looking over to my Grandmother. It was then when I noticed that my Grandmother was looking older than she usually did, her blue eyes not having the usual spark in them. She looked tired and vacant, the way I had seen some other seniors who were much older than her.
“Are you ok Grandma?”
She gives me a grasp on my shoulder that held none of the strength I was used to with my Grandmother. I remember seeing her nod only once, the action had made her flinch.
“Why…Why don’t we….we go and have some tea darling?” She asked her voice croaking and creakingly, again not holding her grand high class English accent I was used to.
“Grandma what’s wrong…?” I had asked, my voice breaking, the sorrow I had for the loss of my Prince going to my Grandmother.
My Mum grabbed my hand, “You’re Grandma’s very sick Prin – sweetheart.”
“Sick…?” I asked, my little brain going over all the times I had seen my Grandmother sick, ever time the same phrase coming up.
“Just a cough sweetheart …”
“Is it just a cough Grandma…?” I had asked smiling a little, hoping to hear that response.
“Come on Louisa; let us go make a cup of tea, hmm…?” Mum asked her voice breaking just as I watched a tear slide down my Grandmother creased and slacked cheek.
It had been found out that my Grandmother had skin cancer about three months ago after she had looked after me while my Mother was in hospital with Steven reaction I had caused. They had originally only found a tumor in her back but after taking that out they continued to found more and more.
In her joints, her lungs, her ovaries, her thyroid, her stomach and her breasts were some of the places where the cancer was found. She didn’t tell my Mother or me any of this as I was in an coma at the time. She didn’t want the attention to taken off me so she had kept quiet putting on a brave face like she always had.
She only told Mum a month before through phone conversations, again she didn’t wish to upset me by seeing her like this as I was already a wreck with trying to find Loki.
She wanted to get better before she saw me, but after being told the cancer was just going to get worse, she finally put herself first and wished to see me even if I was still grieving over losing my Prince.
And when I saw my Grandma like this and had been honestly explained what was going on with her, I wanted to cry but I didn’t. Because while I was watching my Grandma that day, I was also watching my Mother.
It was like Loki had blocked me from seeing certain things. Only when I accepted that fact that Loki could never be coming back was when I saw my Mum being capable of emotions. It seems silly to think, but most children think their parents to be strong willed people who can rescue them from most things. But at that moment, I saw my Mum as fragile woman who was about to lose her Mother, her only support left in the world. After she was gone, Mum was the last reminding member of her family.
And by seeing all of this, naturally I wanted to be there for her.
I practically pushed away my sadness for my Grandma and turned to looking after my Mum. When the house needed cleaning, when the washing needed to be put on and even when dinner needed to made, I made sure to do all of this to the best of my ability.
I don’t know how I did it so easily or whether I was actually thinking, I need to help my mum. I guess I just did it.
Much like Annabelle did in Drop Dead Fred now I think of it. After her Father left along with practically her only friend, she decided subconsciously she needed to be strong to live with her “mega-bitch” of a Mother.
Now I’m not saying my Mother turned into a depressed mess nor did she become incapable of doing things. She was still independent by working her two jobs, being my Mum and now looking after her own Mother.
I just helped out and put a brave face on when she would come home in an absolute mess. I never showed her my tears or my worry; I turned to my very supportive friends who let me vent or cry if I had to. There isn’t a day where I’m not thankful for their support and love during that time.
But there wasn’t one moment where I wished I had Loki to talk to. Like I’ve said heaps in this section, I had accepted Loki was gone. But it didn’t mean I forgot about him nor didn’t miss him practically every day.
Without Loki, I was back to realizing I was an only child with no company except my single parent. I didn’t have someone who was willingly to give all there time to entertain or talk to me like Loki seemed to do. Granted I realized this way before I knew of Grandma’s illness, but it seemed to be more apparent during this time.
Especially when my Grandmother started to live with us. Near the end of Grandma’s life on Earth Mum and I wished her to spend more time with us just as much as she did. She placed herself in our living room bringing with her fold-out coach I used to sleep on with sleepovers. That’s where she stayed and was waiting on hand and foot by my Mother and her nurse Kylie.
Kylie and I got along, this was mainly due to that fact both of us shared the common trait of our, “special friend.” As a child her imaginary friend was a lion she called Mr Hugenston. He apparently smelled of hay, only liked eating Eggplants and had a very squeaky voice that bellowed around the room when he talked. She seemed to believe Loki and Mr Hugenston would have been great friends, but to be perfectly honest all I could think was Loki wanting to skin the beast because of his irritating voice.
But besides from that she had a great sense of humour, was kind and patient and loved her job with all the mess involved. Though there were times where she was stern and did get stressed just like the rest of us.
For example, there were times where my Grandma didn’t want to take particular drugs ( I forget the names) because they made her head woozy. She would tell Mum to take the drugs away along with me making us feel awkward because we didn’t wish to see her upset but we knew she had to take them. Personally I didn’t want to force her because of my own personal stigma of being on the wrong drugs, I thought naively that these drugs could be doing the same to her.
But thankfully Kylie reminded my Grandma why she had to take the drugs using us as emotional play. I can still hear her yelling at her,
“Do you want to hurt your daughter and your granddaughter by seeing you in more pain?! Do you?!”
After that instant Grandmother took her medication. But as the week went on my Grandmother’s condition just got worse and worse. She got weaker as time went and began to refuse food and water and even started to wet the bed. If she got up (which was rare that that stage) she would sway like she was drunk and usually end up breaking a bone.
Around this time was when Kylie started not to be so stern and allowed for my Grandma to refuse the pills. But Grandma still held on. There were some points where I seriously thought she was dead, but she would always turn her head and smile very weakly at me.
When I saw this I wished desperately Loki was near to hold my hand. But he wasn’t so I went to my Mum and friends, something that felt like a desperate substitute. Because while I didn’t want my Grandma to die, I didn’t want her to be pain anymore. I didn’t want her to hold on any longer.
It wasn’t until one day when my Mum, while holding her hand told my Grandma it was ok to let go was when she died. I guess she needed that reassurance that Mum and I were going to be ok without her.
The date my Grandma died was the 28th of July 1998.
Her funeral, that was held four days later, was small and only filled with close friends and family. A couple of people stood up talked about her but unfortunately majority of the focus was her going back to my Granddad military service instead of her life accompanies. Mum made sure with the celebrant that nowhere in the service was the phrase, “passed away.” This was mainly due to that fact that my Grandma (along with my Mother) didn’t believe in heaven or life after death.
I struggled with that idea a lot on that day. Because of Loki, I had most of his beliefs, one of them about the afterlife. On the day of my Grandmother’s funeral I believed that she had gone to Valhalla and was there with the other warriors. While granted my Grandmother wasn’t equipped or skilled with weapons, but she had in a sense fought her own personal war with cancer. And for her to be there among other past Aesirs and warriors of their own mind was comforting for me.
So after my Grandma was lowered into the ground next to my Grandfather and the service was over, I detached myself from the wake and the legal proceedings to a nearby river with an old newspaper and a box of matches I had stolen.
In my solitude I had cried openly as fashioned the newspaper into a small boat. After the boat was made I decorated the inside with light flowers that I found inside the funeral parlor. Once I had finished, I wiped my cheeks clean and with a clear voice spoke the poem Loki had spoken to himself at both my Uncle and my Grandfather’s funeral.
When I had finished, feeling a strange sense of peace I slipped my boat into the water and watched it float down the flowing stream. As it did I flicked a match and threw the lit match into my boat. It caught alight and burned all the way down the river turning from white to black crumbling into the river, the remains disappearing from my sight.
I had never done something like that before, even with Loki. Loki and I after funerals usually would find ways of amusing ourselves by causing mischief with the staff or guests I didn’t know.I guess that was a way Loki helped to distract me from my grief. But that escape was gone.
Over the next four years, I started getting the grasp of what a life without Loki or my Grandmother was like. And to be honest, it really wasn’t that much different aside from no longer being greeted after school or hanging out with Loki or seeing my Grandmother every second weekend. I started to hang out with my friends more often and even made new ones.
Friends like Mike or “Mickey” who went on to being Jenny’s long term boyfriend later in life. Or Christen whose mind was so focused on having fun or her daydreams she would just nearly fail each one of her subjects.
I went from Primary School onto Junior High and starting having a “normal” teenage experience with making new friends and exploring my own interests. My drawing grew more defined as well as my writing skills scoring the usual high marks with everything I submitted.
Mum started dating again but never really had any relationships that she would regard as serious.
The one guy I liked the most was named Troy, he was skinny but toned man with a tousle of black hair and glasses. He liked to bring over movies for all of us to watch and took Mum to baseball games. He was a ball of fun who just wanted to spoil Mum rotten, one of his downfalls unfortunately. My Mum wasn’t the only woman he liked spoiling, there was more than one, all of them not knowing one another.
Besides all of her relationships, she had started up her own business, a little café called, “Sarah’s delights.” And while it wasn't extremely popular, was stable enough for Mum not to work two jobs.
It seemed like everything was going really well.
But that was all about to change eight months after my fourteenth birthday.
Loki’ turning into the Beast from “The Beauty and The Beast” for his love of roses…Oh well…
This chapter wasn't my favorite to write. Mainly due to the fact the Grandmother character has been mostly modeled on my own Grandma. She hasn’t died nor does she have cancer, but the cancer I gave Louisa’s Grandmother is the same her (My Grandma’s) brother.
It’s one of the reasons why at some moments I’m waffling throughout this chapter (or section for Louisa). I don’t want to write or even imagine my Grandma’s death or re-imagining my Great Uncle’s struggle with cancer. I actually broke down in tears after writing this.
So, if Grandma you’re reading this (which is unlikely), I’m sorry. I don’t want you to die anytime soon.
Comment and let me know what you think!