Six years ago I wrote this about how I was feeling after the loss of my gram a year after the loss.
You would think that after taking a full 3-credit college course and getting an ‘A’ would make me a little more in tune to my own grieving process. The fives steps they tell you that are all apart of what grief is, right? It should be easy for someone that has been educated in this subject to at least notice the stages within oneself. Denial and Isolation, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. Looking back at the past 15 months I can see times where I have dabbled within each of these steps. I can also see where I have gotten so close to Acceptance and ran just as fast away from it. Thinking that if Acceptance is had than there is no where else to go.
It is almost as though without my Gram in my everyday life that I am not living, nor do I really want to at times. I will live but I will not be alive. People say stay strong for your kids, and I am trying, but it really isn’t that easy. I’ve had to be the strong one my whole life and my rock, the only person that I had to help me stay strong has gone. Without her I can feel myself start to crack, crumble into dust that is the sand that the world has been walking on. I have never ever in my life admitted that I am weak or that I may possibly need help, but I have hit the bottom and if I go any further down I know that getting back up will be a massive struggle.
There is a period in my life, that looking back on, all I can see is blackness. I didn’t know then that I was depressed. All I knew is what was. I think back to that time and I do not want to go back. I know that my Gram would want me to grieve and get over it. I have great comfort in knowing that I will see her again, even greater comfort in knowing she is still here with me. Since she died I have not felt like she was completely gone, and I think that may be the only thing that has keep my head above water. The day before she died she gave me her Jade ring, her good luck charm and no matter how hard I tried to give it back to her she would not take it. That night I looked at in on my finger and knew what her plan was.
It was a plan that I had feared my whole life. I can remember lying in bed at her house crying myself to sleep hoping that she would be alive in the morning. Her death had always been my biggest fear. I did not think that I could ever live without her. She was my soul mate; we had an instant connection from the time that I can remember. She was where I always wanted to be, she was my best friend, my everything. She has been taken from me and I am left here wondering what the hell do I do now? Everyday is a struggle and a journey until the next day.
My gram was an amazing woman who lived her life to the fullest. She was given 2 weeks to live after a massive stroke 18 years before she died. I was the only one there when she was having her stroke, and she kept it together long enough for me to go get help. We had always been there for each other when we needed it the most. That is what makes this so hard. The hardest thing I have ever had to deal with and the person I counted on is not there to help me through it.
I was recently told that I am depressed. I knew this and I didn’t. I knew that important things were no longer important and I knew that my whole body ached. I have all the classic symptoms, the ones that I learned about in high school and college, but I didn’t want to acknowledge them. I guess I thought that if I made them into no big deal they would go away. The commercial about depression that says “depression hurts,” it really doesn’t make any sense until you are depressed. It does hurt, a lot and all over.
As I step back a little from my world of sorrow I see the way my Gram lived; just that; she lived. She lived every day to the fullest and when they told her she was going to die she basically laughed at them and went on her own terms. A few weeks before she died, after her son, my uncle passed away she told me she was ready to go. She said that she knew that I no longer needed her. She said her job here was done and she was not afraid to die. I tried to tell her that I was not okay and that I couldn’t imagine life without her, but she would not hear it.
We tried to plan a funeral for her, but I kept putting it off. I really couldn’t bear the thought. I had also had plans on writing her Memoir to get some of her amazing stories on paper, but I put that off too. I had it in my mind that if that was written she could go. I had all kinds of these thoughts on how to make her live forever, obviously they didn’t work.
At the hospital, the morning she died I went into her room and saw her lying there, so helpless yet peaceful. I had always thought that seeing a dead body, especially hers would be impossible. It was not, I did not want to leave her there. I kissed her and held her and smelled her. I leaned over her and watched my tears hit her forehead, and I was hoping for a miracle, like in the movies. I know it sounds stupid, but I really was hoping that my tears would bring her back to life. She was laying in one of the new hospital beds that adjust to body weight, and for a spilt second I thought she was breathing. It was amazing. For that second I thought she was back. But she wasn’t. I held her hands and caressed her arms, kissing her forehead. I did not want to leave because I knew it was going to be the last time I would ever see her body again. The one the comforted me for so much of my life.
I felt horrible leaving her there, I wanted more than anything to be able to push her out of her room in her wheel chair and have her home again. Instead, I walked out carrying the bag of her belongings. That was an awful, empty feeling. The next few days are a blur. I wanted more than anything to communicate with her. I just wanted to talk to her. I would say one last time, but once will never be enough. For my birthday that year I was able to have a séance with three other people. She was not strong enough to really communicate much, but she was able to tell me that she was okay and that she hated leaving me. She was also able to help take some of the guilt I had been feeling away.
I wanted so much to dream of her, to communicate that way, but each morning I would wake up with nothing. Until recently. I have been having dreams occasionally; they are so nice it is hard to wake up. I know that she is really there with me and that is how I find life bearable.
But to get to the much needed point, I am ready to start living life again. She was/is the person I most want to be like and letting depression swallow me whole is not going to get me to that destination. Even from death she is helping me through this tough time. I think all I needed to remember is that even though she is not here physically, she will always be here helping me along the rest of my journey. I was blessed to have her in my life for as long as I did. I am really looking forward to grab a hold of Acceptance and embrace it; it is what she would have wanted.