Remona Aly
Wednesday 10 June 2015 BBC Radio 2

Loss of a Loved one

BBC Radio 2, Pause for Thought on the Vanessa Feltz Breakfast Show
“Loss of a Loved one”


My first and only trip to a pet shop was at the age of 4. Even now I can smell the earthy straw and delicate aroma of hamster droppings. My dad told me: ‘You can choose any pet you like’. I looked about in excitement and there they were – two perfect, little white mice, my first and only pets. We named them Perseus and Andromeda, as ‘Clash of the Titans’ was in the cinema at the time. But within weeks, these little mice played out a Greek tragedy:  Percy killed Andy, then followed her to Elysium soon after. Little did I know of aggressive behaviour in mice, but they were gone, and my 4 year old heart was broken for the very first time.

It was a life and death lesson at a tender age, but losing someone is never something you get used to. Grief can be quite surreal, and it’s even more surreal feeling the loss of someone I’ve never even met. My grandfather died well before I came on the scene. In 1960s India, my granddad was a renowned physician, and a famous actress who was like the Indian Audrey Hepburn of the time, wrote to my granddad asking him to treat a hole in her heart.

That’s what losing someone is like. It leaves a hole in your heart. I’d not met my granddad, but to me, love is hereditary. He’s in my DNA. I love him and miss him, even though I never knew him. There’s a granddad shaped hole in my heart. In fact there are several. One massive hole is for my larger than life dad, who left this world 6 years ago. But I fill the holes in my heart with belief like spiritual Polyfilla – the belief that I can see lost loved ones again.

So hopefully, I will see dad again, and meet my granddad for the first time, and maybe even be reunited with my two little white mice – though I’d probably keep them in separate hutches next time.