I think death is painful for many reasons but one of the biggest is it’s finality.
It puts a period where our human brains can only understand a comma. We don’t compute something ending forever.
When we say goodbye to people, we don’t understand never seeing them again. When we hang up the phone, we don’t anticipate that their voice might never come across our ears once more. When we hug someone tightly, we don’t imagine never feeling their warmth around us again.
It’s Wednesday night/Thursday morning and I cannot sleep. My grandma took her final breaths on Sunday. My heart feels so unsure, so confused, so sad. It wasn’t her time and yet it was.
That’s the thing about death, it doesn’t wait for you to be ready. Because you’ll never be ready. You are never ready to let go of somebody.
Everyone always says “I just wish I could hug them one more time.” But that hug wouldn’t do it, you know? Even if you saw them one more time, that would only comfort you in that moment. In the next moment, the pain would be there. Again. Fresh. Deep.
I once heard death described as feeling like a really bad dream that you have and when you wake up, there’s those few moments when you can’t differentiate between reality and dreaming…so you think that maybe this death was a dream, just a really bad dream. But when you come to, the pain of it all comes in again. And it stings all over again. Every day you have to wake up and live without this person that you weren’t supposed to live without.
You shouldn’t ever have to live without your people. They are yours, dangit. Death reminds you of all the moments stolen from you now that your people are gone. Moments that you’ll never get because death took them before you were ready.
It really freaking sucks. Can we all agree? Death is the worst and it sucks. There is literally nothing that can make that hole in your heart feel better. It’s truly the most unfair thing.
I miss her so much.
I think that’s the other thing about death. There’s no way to prepare for it. No one ever tells you how to do that. No one ever tells you how to miss people you’ll never see again.
I don’t even know how to tell you what to do. This blog isn’t going to have any advice. I’m not even sure what purpose it will serve. I just really miss my grandma and I don’t even know what to do about it. So I’m writing. That’s how I work through my pain.
She really was a fantastically wonderful woman.
I read through her Bible today. Her hand writing, her words, her prayers, her heart…it was all there just bursting open for me to read. Her sweet moments with her Savior, I got a little peek into what stirred her heart. I got to know her. Her underlines, her little scribbles, even little dates written in on specific verses.
I can’t hear her voice anymore but I can read her words.
Maybe that’s how we learn to get through life without our people. We just keep loving them and learning from them in any way we can.
My grandma’s physical presence in my life is something that I will never get back. I will always miss it. But I don’t have to miss her heart, her strength, her spirit. All of those things live in my mom and her brothers and sisters, they live in my sister, and they live in me. Her legacy is ours now.
The pain that exists in this moment only tells of the wonderful person we had the honor of loving.
What an honor it was to love her and to be loved by her.
I can’t believe that I was deemed worthy of being her granddaughter.
I will never stop missing her and I don’t ever want to stop missing her. She changed my life. She made me a better person by caring for me, she showed me just how much someone could love. She always knew how to make me laugh and she never missed an opportunity to tell me how proud of me she was.
But still my favorite story is one from the year before last. I attended a wedding in Tyler, where she was living, so I went to see her for a little bit before I headed back to Dallas. She asked me, “Crissy, you go to ALL these weddings, when I am going to come to your wedding?” and I replied, “Well, I have a wedding that I’m a bridesmaid for in November, maybe there will be some cute groomsmen or something.” I said this as a joke, I mean there were gonna be cute guys there but I just said it to change the subject.
Well 3 months later, I get a message the day of the wedding from my grandma. It reads, “Hey! I remember you’re supposed to meet someone special tonight, keep me updated.”
She remembered. I laughed for so long about that. Her and my mom were always trying to get me married. It used to make me insecure, like what the heck, I’m not good enough the way I am? But now I see it. She truly thought so highly of me and loved me so much that she didn’t understand how I could possibly be single. That’s really such a sweet compliment.
It’s so funny how something that was so silly to me then is so sweet to me now. All memories I have of her will now be dripping with mixtures of love and sadness because of their finality. They’ll become fuzzy and my heart will learn to heal. But I’ll never stop missing her. Earth will always feel emptier without her here.
I don’t have any grandparents left. She was the last one. I wish I had done more to show her how much she meant to me. I wish I had said, “I love you” about a million more times. I wish I had hugged her and kissed her and sent her flowers and wine every day. I wish I would have been better. I wish I would have been more for her. I wish my stupid selfish human heart would have realized this so much sooner. I wish so many things.
But wishing won’t bring her back.
Life moves whether we want it to or not. I cannot change the past. I can only change how I act in the future. I can be better for her.
I can walk in love for her. I can walk in strength for her. I can walk in grace for her.
If the past 4 days have shown me anything, it’s how much my family and I are loved. It’s reminded just how freaking incredible people are. I have had no less than 200 people reach out to me via social media, texting, calling, etc. just to express their sincere sorrow, their love for my family and I, and in the truest way, all of them said, “Let me know what I can do for you, I am here for you.”
In my deepest sorrow, in my deepest pain, I am reminded of the good that exists in the world. I am reminded that even in the darkest of valleys, light will always find it’s way.
Finally, I am reminded that I have the power to be the love that I want to exist. A twist on Ghandi’s quote, yes. Because I don’t just want change. I want love. For everyone. Everywhere. My grandma has reminded me of the power that love has on even the hardest of hearts. How it softens, how it soothes, and how it heals.
Love truly does conquer all.
Thank you, Grandma. Thank you for showing us that it really is okay to fight for everyone else, even if it makes your life harder. Thank you for showing us that love takes many forms. Thank you for showing us that showing up for your people is painful and hard but we should do it anyways. Thank you for showing us how to never give up. Thank you for showing us how to always see the good in people, even when nobody else sees it. Thank you for showing us what a lifetime of love looks like. Thank you for loving us, Grandma. You did so well. You loved your people in the most beautiful way. Thank you for teaching us how to be a family. You made us all what we are. Rest well, Grandma.
I love you.