Thursday, July 17, 2008

Who I'm going to be.

I didn't think my grandmother's death would feel like this to me.

She was old. Very old. She'd lived a very long, happy, productive life. I'm amazed at everything she was able to do. Be a missionary. Work when it wasn't really cool for women to work. Live through the death of her child. Inspire. Create. Love the same man for sixty-six years and not stab him in the face, ever. Honestly, I don't think I ever, ever heard her say an unkind word about anyone. Except Republicans.

She was amazing.

My grandmother wrote every day for many, many years. As long as I can remember, for sure, she would write in her little journals. Simple things sometimes. She'd write about the weather. What she was feeling. Some special thing that a grandchild had done.

In every day there was an event to celebrate. Even if it was something like, "The blackberry bushes are blooming today" or "The pecan pie turned out beautifully".

She celebrated every day of her life.

I didn't deal with my grandmother's death at first. I thanked God her suffering was over. I sat through the wake, hugging all the people who I hadn't seen in years. Dealing with the drama of the family. Trying to help my own mom.

During the funeral they started talking about my grandfather and then the tears flowed. My grandpa died in 1994. I miss him still. He never met my children or my husband. He never got to see me make anything of myself. He really loved me. I never doubted it.

The tears haven't seemed to stop. Not since the funeral.

I don't cry all the time, but I feel so profoundly sad. It's like an ache in my soul that I just can't explain. I feel so lonely here and I feel like I've done this to myself. There are people here who are reaching out to me and I'm so afraid to reach for that lifeboat. I can't even explain why.

I went and got cards. I sent cards to my dad's sisters who weren't even related to my grandma but still came to the funeral. For my dad's mother, who is a sweet soul that I don't even know very well but want to know. For my mom's mother. She lost her mother. For my husband's grandmother. I hated to see her cry.

For all these people who I don't really know all that well.

My grandma always sent cards, for every occasion. Sometimes for no occasion at all. Just because. Just because she was thinking about you.

I want to be like her.

She's the furthest one on the right. She's so beautiful.

My grandmother is the little girl. I see my daughter in her face.

Sometimes I feel like my grandmother is looking down on me. Encouraging me not to give up. Telling me she's proud of me. That if she had lived long enough to see the book published, it would be on her coffee table. That she knew there was something in me...something special. That I just had to find out what it was.


I have to find out what it is. I have to believe that it's something.


Frannie said...

Death is such a painful thing to process.

It will take time and you have to allow yourself to grieve.

And grandma would have carried your book around showing it off!!!

Anonymous said...

No wonder you've been in a funk. Sigh. I lost one of my dearest friends four years ago at 42. There's nothing you can do about the emotions of grieving, I don't think. You just miss them and it makes you sad. It takes a long time to get to the point where the feeling that you are glad you had her is bigger again than the sadness she's gone. I think you already are special. You have her loving heart. love, V

Our Moments said...

What a very sweet post. I can tell how much you are hurting from just reading your posts over the past several weeks. I'm sorry you are in so much pain.

I lost my paternal grandmother before my daughter was born. We weren't very close while I was growing up and even less so after I moved out of my parents house. But after I had my daughter, I realized just how alike my grandmother and I were. We have a lot of the same talents and desires. I would give anything to be able to share my life with her now. She would be so proud.

My sister had a dream recently of my grandmother cooking a big meal in her home. My grandmother was happier than we had seen her in years in this dream. I choose to believe this was her way of telling us that she is ok where she is. She is happy and enjoying heaven.

Best wishes to you... My heart aches for what you are going through.

Angie said...

wrote you an email.....this, like everything

BandK said...

Honey, you're grieving. It's okay. What you're feeling is normal. Now, if you were like this a year from now, I might be a little concerned. But this isn't a "funk"; it's a perfectly normal reaction to losing a loved one. No matter how happy we are that they are with Jesus in Heaven and out of pain, it is still very painful for those of us left behind.

Work through your grief. And go see your counselor -- what's his name? Big Joe? Something? He will help you work through your grief.

Hugs to you!

the planet of janet said...

hang in there, hon. you will find the way to the other side of this and be better for it.


Birth Sister Doula Services said...

Honey, they DO see what we're doing. Your grandpa is watching you become an amazing, accomplished woman, a terrific mom, and a wonderful wife. He's seeing your kids grow up. I promise. Your grandma IS proud of you. She IS telling you not to give up, and to keep on keeping on.

I know that ache of loss all too well. My grandma's been gone 5 years this month, and there are days I miss her so much it hurts. Talk to her. Tell her you miss her. Ask her to send you a sign that she is still with you. Then be open to receiving it. If you are hearing her voice in your head, then you are already open to receiving her visits.

My grandpa visited me about 2 weeks after his death. My grandma waited a little longer than that, but she came back to let me know she was ok nonetheless - and to let me know I was going to be okay (later that day, I had bleeding during my BSE and ended up having surgery). I know there are people who think this is foolishness, but it does happen.

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

She obviously meant a lot to you. Hold on to those memories, those happy moments. That is what will get you through this grieving process. Ride with it. This is normal. At some point, you'll wake up one morning and realize you didn't cry at all the day before. And at that moment you'll know that the happy has overridden the sad. This is what happened to me when my father died. Now, I only cry when I see him in my children, knowing he would enjoy them so much. But I also realize he's watching over them and me, and that makes me happy.

You'll be OK. I promise. And there's always a bed here in suburban Atlanta if you need to get away for a different perspective. :)

Kimberly Vanderhorst said...

Something tells me that the incredible lady you describe would be delighted to hear that her example is touching your heart in such a profound way, and inspiring you to search out the happiness that she knows you deserve.

Mixed in with the grief and sorrow of losing someone we love can be the sweetness of being inspired by how they lived their life (or, you know, in some cases the opposite), and using the ocassion to live our own lives more fully. To, as your Grandma did, celebrate life.

Rachel (Crazy-Is) said...

Chick, you are definitely something. You are a wonderful and caring and sweet and honest and funny person. You've been there for me no questions asked. You are a great friend that I am very lucky to have. I am so sorry that you lost someone so important to you. Grief is a strange thing and everyone grieves and deals with grief differently. Take you time. Allow yourself to be sad. You have every right. And, when it's time, allow yourself to be happy. You have every right.


Laura said...

What a beautiful tribute!! She does sound very special indeed!!!

Anonymous said...

Grieving is good, and it is okay. You have permission to cry when you're sad. You have permission to reach out to those who you have shut you out or you have shut out just because. Sometimes it takes the death of a loved one to make that happen.

I lost my grandfather three and a half years ago, January 2005. I sometimes still cry when I think about how much I miss him. Sometimes my mom cries too. When they're beautiful human beings that touch your life so deeply, we carry them with us. Even reading stories about people losing their own grandparents makes me weep.

I will say that the first year following my grandfather's death was both inexplicably devastating and altogether wonderful. I could feel him with me many, many times. He was everywhere and in everything, and I have no doubt that he was tending to all of us that first year.

After that first year he wasn't with us quite so much, but he's still in our hearts, and I love him even more.

I guess I share this with you to say that I empathize with the pain that you're in and the loss you are feeling. I sympathize with the desire to reach out of the loneliness you're feeling because I had several family members that did the same, and they still do keep in touch. The tie that binds.

Prayers, good thoughts, hugs and kisses for you during all this. You'll make it through, spiritually richer, stronger and even more wise than you are now.

Denise said...

Well all i can say chica is that grieving sucks ass. It seems like ever since the donut man died in Jan things have gone down hill from there.
I feel your pain, and can only hope that things get better for the both of us.

Stephanie said...

I understand your pain, I lost my grandma in March, it was unexpected. I still cry about it and my grandpa died 3 years ago and I still cry about it. Not every day and I am not sad all the time, but I feel it often.

You will do great things, I know it.

Tarasview said...

I have been catching up on the last few days of your blog (I've returned from the dreaded land of no-internet at my in-laws)... I just wanted to say I'm listening. And yep, life just sucks sometimes. I totally agree.

judy in ky said...

"Never said a kind word about anyone... except Republicans".... I love your sense of humor. I have a feeling that your grandmother's humor and appreciation of little things has been passed on to you. That's why it's so much fun to read your blog. I have now lost all my grandparents... it is such a blessing to have them when we are children. Sometimes it seems like life is like a feather, doesn't it? So fragile, and just floating on down.

CPA Mom said...

It is something just are YOU are SOMETHING!

Death is so very hard. Who knew I'd still be mourning Jane a year and a half later? Still weeping for a husband gone these nine years? We never get over death we just get through it.

Jill said...

sorry this is late in getting to you, but really you wonder what the special thing about YOU is? good grief woman, I though you were intelligent. Look at HOW MANY PEOPLE whose lives you touch every single day. who get comfort from you, and understanding and laughter from your writing. and that's STRANGERS. I can't imagine what it's like to be in your family and have that innate kindness and sense of realism be a part of my world. why dont you try asking your kids sometime why you're special? i bet you'll enjoy the answers! ;-)