My words and the picture here have little in common. My son painted his first picture. When he was doing it, I was SO proud! Yet, in search for an image of this week’s challenge, I looked through my pictures and saw his beautiful piece differently. Thinking about my grief, I saw his art as my heart, criss-crossed and going in every which way: confusion, hurt, loss, love, pain, denial…
“They say you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone but in reality you always did…you just didn’t think you’d lose it.”
This quote speaks to me. Last Tuesday, I went from cloud 9 to the gutter in a matter of seconds. My husband called me. I was outside, enjoying a coffee and treat with my kids. He said two words and I lost it. “Granny’s dead.” Even typing those words make me choke up and start crying. Granny is dead.
What’s hard about the loss is what the quote says. I knew what I had–I knew how blessed I was to marry Jeff and inherit his Granny as my own. Granny and I had our special relationship. She brought me in, loved me, accepted me and taught me so much from baking to playing pinochle.
The problem is I didn’t think we’d lose her. Yes, she was 99 and 2/3 years old, but Granny was going to live forever. I’m not naive. I know every human being will die. Yet, Granny was Granny. She was larger than life, she was invincible (she’d had heart attacks before and survived), she was fun and she was special. God, was she special! Maybe she wasn’t going to live forever, but she was DEFINITELY going to make it to her 100th birthday in August. In fact, I really believed she was going to live to 105–at least! So, the suddenness of her death was brutal.
The day she died, is a blur. All I did was cry. Wednesday to present-day is clear but that’s cause I’m in denial. I need to spend time writing about her. Once I do, the tears will flow and my heart will heal a little. I’m not ready for that yet. I’m stuck in the pure angst of MISSING her. I can’t pick up the phone, I won’t ever hear her say my name again (with her New Jersey twang), I won’t ever touch her soft, wrinkled skin, or kiss her soft cheek. I’ll never bake her Christmas cookies with her or make her go to bed at 2am in Atlantic City (that woman would play the slots ALL night!). I can hardly bare to think that she’s gone.
I hate that she’s gone. I miss her terribly. I want to tell her, just once more, that I love her. As each day passes, I let go a little more of minor regrets (I should’ve called her on Sunday, I wish we’d gone to visit her this spring) and try to grasp onto the good (she KNEW I loved her, she was grateful for the pictures I did send, for the times I did call).
Death is never easy, especially when the loss is great. During this grieving period, I am being gentle with myself. I’m honest with how I’m feeling, how I’m handling/not handling the news and crying when I need to. I’m not pretending I’m okay because I’m not yet and I know I’ll get there. Slowly, but surely, I’ll embrace Granny’s death, focusing on how blessed we were to have her for so long. I’ll smile when I think of her instead of cry because I’ll remember something she said, or the way she was. Sooner rather than later, I will write Granny a good-bye letter since I didn’t get to say it in person. I’ll pour my heart out and thank her for all she showed me. It’ll be therapeutic and allow me to switch my focus from negative to positive. I feel it stirring in me; the words of love and gratitude. There are so many words of love and gratitude…
Let’s start our week off right by embracing those we still have and cherishing those we did have. Will you do me a favor? Reach out to one person you love or you’ve lost contact with. Tell them what they mean to you. We all have a friend we’ve been meaning to make plans with or a Granny we meant to call last week. We always think we have tomorrow, but it’s not a guarantee. So, reach out today…please. Knowing you’ll help me out makes me feel a bit better already. It woulda made Granny happy too! (She always prided herself on being good to people.)
We have today, so speak your heart!
With love and gratitude,