Supermarket Flowers is the 12th song on Ed Sheeran’s new album Divide, and quite possibly the most memorable one too. Have you ever listened to a song and from the moment your ears tune into the lyrics, you know this is that song, the song that really describes a situation, or describes your feelings like no one ever could – this is that song for me. Ed wrote this song from his mum’s perspective about his grandmother who sadly passed away, and from the moment this song begins your heart begins to feel ways it probably never thought it could. Some say when you’re going through a difficult period in your life that you should talk about it, or write it down, and Ed done just that through a song, but me? I’m going to type it up and let it out via this post.
This song struck a chord with me from the very first moment I listened to it on the day of the album release. It was released during a time when my gran was battling ill health, and as a result was permanently living with us and needing round the clock care from my mum. I developed a strong attachment to the song and can only long for the day I get to tell Ed personally just how much this song means to me, something that likely won’t happen and something he probably hears every single day, but still it’s true. Prior to Christmas, my gran’s constant up and down health took a turn for the worst, and despite her hitting rock bottom many times before but constantly picking herself back up the very next day, this time was different. Each day with her was another blessing, another thank you to God to be able to wake up and go through to the other room to be met with a smile, a good morning, or an order for some tea and toast.
I spent 21 amazing years by her side, and those 21 years will be cherished and remembered as the best years of my life. Whether it was the time she took me on the train to London for the weekend as a toddler, and I only survived a half hour in the city before my attachment to my mum became evident and I cried nonstop for hours that my mum had to get the first 5 hour train out to London to come and get me, or the time just a couple of months ago when I smacked my head off the cupboard door bending down trying to find something insignificant and gran made me climb in bed beside her whilst she stroked my hair like I was a little girl again. Or what about all the times I done well in an exam, an assignment, or had an awards ceremony back in high school, she’d be there stood by my mum’s side filled with pride, phoning around the family telling them about her granddaughter, motivating me to keep it up or trying to slip me the odd fiver for passing an exam and when I’d refuse she wouldn’t object, she’d simply say “Okay I’ll have it back then”. Or even better, that time in Morrison’s where we wore matching jackets and made mum take a picture of us both with all our shopping giving the camera two big thumbs up.
When you lose the dearest person in your life, you’re left with a gaping hole that really can never be filled, but when you think of all the wonderful memories you shared with that person, you can only be thankful that you’ve been left with such fond ones. On the 17th of March I lost my gran, and that very day my whole world changed in the blink of an eye. Although it was something I knew was going to happen, you can never prepare yourself for when it does. When that very person is not only your gran, but you’re best friend all rolled into one, it’s like losing more than one person. When I look back, I can’t not smile as the last few months of her life spent living with mum and I were the happiest of months for her, as well as us. Despite the struggles and the discomfort at times, she would always have a smile on her face for you, and there was no smile quite like the one plastered on her face whenever I walked into the room. We were like two peas in a pod, and regardless of me growing up, I was always her favourite little girl.
Balancing uni and illness all under the same roof was tough, I struggled to deal with the constant flood of nurses and doctors in my house every morning and night, the constant visitors, having to leave the house and say goodbye wondering whether it would be my last time, and the tension in relationships at times due to the frustration and stressfulness of the situation. I kept a lot of how I felt inside, letting it build up, I didn’t want her to ever see me sad, if the people around her were strong then she would be too, and she always was. I put on a brave face, not wanting anymore stress to be put on my mum. I’d take it all back though just to have her here again, to sit beside her with a cup of tea watching Jeremy Kyle, Judge Rinder or Come Dine With Me, even if it was a repeat…to hold her hand and comfort her, or to tell her a joke that no one except her would find funny. I find it extremely strange coming home now and not shouting hello and being responded to with a witty comment, or her being in control of the TV schedule, which meant no Towie or Housewives of Orange Country for me.
“A heart that’s broke is a heart that’s been loved”
So that’s why Supermarket Flowers became a part of me, each lyric as if Ed Sheeran was singing about the things going on in my life. The album brought and still does bring me so much comfort, it’s amazing how music can make you feel, especially when times are tough. There’s not a day that goes by where I don’t think of her, I’m constantly being reminded of her, speaking about her, missing her. I graduate from university in 2 months with a Psychology Honours degree and my only wish was for her to attend my graduation, watching me collect my degree, draped in my long black gown, especially since it’s all thanks to her encouragement that I’ve made it this far. Sadly, that wish won’t be fulfilled but I know she’ll be there with me in my heart, and I can only hope that I continue to make her proud.
Annie, my best friend, my gran.