Thursday, January 05, 2017

Better to Have Loved and Lost...

Grieving the loss of someone you love is relatively new to me. Fortunately I have not lost a lot of loved ones. I was only 6 when my Grandma Mills passed away and the loss was much different as a child. My Grandad died when I was 18 but we didn't have a close emotional attachment so the grief was different, yet again.

Losing my Grammie in November was like nothing I've ever experienced. I am so fortunate to have had such a close and loving relationship with this special lady. Not only was she my Grammie, sharing stories of her youth and from the past, but she was also my friend. A confidant. Someone I could talk to. Someone I could LAUGH with. We laughed a lot. She was quite funny.

I feel that I have mourned in gradual stages. Several years ago, I started to see signs of her aging. It became more difficult for her to get around and our trips in the car were less frequent. As superficial as it sounds, she stopped dying her hair and started to look older. She moved from her home of 60+ years to an apartment, to a retirement home and then to a nursing home. Our phone conversations were not as long and our visits were shortened by required naps. All of these stages gave me time to process what was happening and what was inevitable. Although I could not imagine what it would feel like, it wasn't as overwhelmingly crushing as I thought it might be. I'm grateful for the gradual grieving.

However, you never know when an emotional moment will hit you. While putting up the Christmas tree this year, we carefully removed ornaments from the box and hung them on the tree. And then I opened a box that brought out the tears. It was an ornament I had given Grammie many years ago. Last year she returned it to me to hang on my own tree. As soon as I saw it I was overwhelmed with sadness and started to cry. Cody wanted to know what was wrong, so I explained to him that this ornament was very special. I had given it to Grammie and she had given it back to me last year - as if she knew that she wouldn't be with us this year. He rubbed my arm and said "I'm sorry you're sad Emmy."

Today would've been Grammie's 90th birthday. The last two days have been difficult. Yesterday a memory popped up on my Facebook feed. It was a video I had put together for Grammie's birthday 2 years ago. As I watched the photos fade across the scene, I started to cry - right there in my office. Fortunately, no one else had arrived yet so I was alone, but it was a full out "ugly cry" as Oprah would call it. I think I'm lucky to have loved so much to have lost so much.

I will always miss this special lady but am incredibly grateful for the memories I will always carry with me.

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