**I originally posted this on April 21, 2012. Loss of a family member is never easy. This was definitely not an easy post for me to revisit. However, my Mamaw was a HUGE part of my life and she truly was a person that helped shape me into the person I am today. She deserves to be remembered, to be honored.
“I don’t want to be at the mercy of my emotions. I want to use them, to enjoy them, and to dominate them.” -Oscar Wilde
“The emotion that can break your heart is sometimes the very one that heals it.” -Nicholas Sparks
“Don’t be ashamed to weep; ’tis right to grieve. Tears are only water, and flowers, trees, and fruit cannot grow without water. But there must be sunlight also. A wounded heart will heal in time, and when it does, the memory and love of our lost ones is sealed inside to comfort us.” -Brian Jacques
“Feel, he told himself, feel, feel, feel. Even if what you feel is pain, only let yourself feel.” -P.D. James
This is definitely not the blog post that I was wanting to sit down and write. My grandmother passed away on April 19, 2012. This blog post isn’t going to be organized. It’s not going to seem too thought out. It’s going to seem a little raw. However, to be honest with you…this isn’t for you. It’s for me. I’m allowing myself to feel the gamut of emotions so that I can heal. I have said several times on my blog that writing is my outlet, it helps me to get the words out on paper. Writing heals my soul and if along the way I can touch one individual then that is why I do this. The post won’t be perfect. I didn’t try and do an outline. I’m not even sure what will come of this, but I look at this post as an extension of myself. My first step in the process of letting her go and coming to peace with it. So I invite you on this journey with me….take it or leave it. This is me.
I knew this was coming. She had been in the hospital for almost 2 months, most of that was spent in the ICU. This shouldn’t have come as a shock to me. However, just because I knew that it was going to happen didn’t make dealing with it or facing it when it did happen any easier. The last time I saw her the doctor had to place her on a ventilator and we were told that she only had about a 10% chance of ever being able to come off of it. Again I say this shouldn’t have been a shock to me. However, it knocked the wind out of me. I literally felt like I couldn’t breathe and then the worst of realizations kicked in. I realized that this, not being able to breathe, is how she had been feeling for months. Hurting to breathe, struggling to breathe, for a split second I could truly feel her pain, feel how she had been living for months. I didn’t want that for her. I would never wish that pain on my worst enemy, much less someone I love so dearly. When I got the text from my dad saying that she was gone, I physically fell to my knees and cried.
It’s been two days and the funeral is being held on Monday. I feel the pain of missing her, but yet at the same time, it doesn’t seem real to me. A part of me still thinks that I can just pick up that phone and she will be on the other end of the line. Even though I am in pain, it’s like I don’t believe that she is gone. She can’t be gone. I wasn’t ready for her to be gone. She wasn’t supposed to leave me yet. I find myself starting to cry out of nowhere. Little things come into my head. Just last night I realized that she would never get to be a great-grandmother. I am the oldest grandchild and she won’t get to see my kids. I am so grateful that she got to meet, Ben, the guy I have been with since January. Ben really is special to me and I am so thankful she got to meet him and tell her stories about me, however, there were a few stories that I wish she would have kept to herself. He was there with me from the first moment they moved her to ICU. He never left my side. He let me cry, he let me be angry, and he also made me smile. I did get to laugh with her again. We had our chance to pick on each other, which we have always done. Ben even said, “She likes to pick on you, doesn’t she?” That’s how our relationship has always been. We could laugh together, we could cry together, and she was always there for me.
I find myself very angry at the current moment. I’m so mad that she was only 63. I’m angry the doctors didn’t seem to know what to do with her. I can’t stop thinking that if only we had gotten her to San Antonio sooner she would be alive right now so I find myself angry at myself. I can’t help but wonder, how much more could have been done for her. How much are people telling us? How honest were the nurses and doctors with us? I don’t want to allow myself to hold on to this anger for too long. I want to allow myself to feel it and to heal from it, but I don’t want to allow it to control me or turn to bitterness. Hatred and bitterness can harden your heart over time and can make it very difficult for you to see the good things in your life. Bitterness is like a disease it can slowly eat at you. I don’t want that for my life and I know that my grandmother wouldn’t want that for my life either.
I’m angry, sad, physically hurting at times…..but I try to also remember the things that I have in my life that I should be thankful for. I have family and friends that love and support me. I have a sense of humor that keeps me going in times of pain and struggle. I have a job with good benefits, some people don’t have a job right now. I have friends that would do anything for me, all I have to do is ask. I have the love of a good MAN, who might be halfway around the world at the moment, but he still has the ability to comfort me and put a smile on my tear-streaked face. I am grateful that I have such faith and belief in him and our relationship. I am thankful that I can say I truly trust him and I know that he loves me and would be here for me, physically, if he could. I remind myself of all these things, in between the moments of anger and pain because the good moments, as well as the bad, will help me heal in time.
I fear this weekend and the funeral Monday is going to be very difficult. I fear for my mom. I am so afraid of the toll this is going to take on her body, especially with her MS. I can’t handle anything happening to her right now. However, over the last few months, I have realized that I am a lot stronger than I give myself credit for, which is a good thing. I know that I won’t forget her, but eventually, it will get a little easier. The good memories will out-weigh the bad and I will be able to think of her with a smile on my face. Until that day, I am going to take the advice of Oscar Wilde, “I don’t want to be at the mercy of my emotions. I want to use them, to enjoy them, and to dominate them.”