I Grieve, Not Because of Death

Obviously, I haven’t posted in awhile.  The last few weeks have been insane to say the least.  My grandmother’s passing has opened up so many emotions that I never realized were there.  I have so much to write about today, but I’m not sure where to start.

It has been emotionally exhausting just to be in the presence of the rest of my family members during this time.  Even though she was 83 years old, her death was unexpected.  She had gone into the hospital and had surgery to remove an infection, but she was recovering very well.  So well, in fact, that they moved her from ICU to a rehabilitation center.  She was there for 3 days before a massive heart attack took her peacefully in her sleep.  My aunts were lost and confused.  I helped with the funeral arrangements, and it seems I was the one who had my shit together the most.  I didn’t shed a tear, although I did feel icky.

Being in my grandmother’s house the day of funeral was surreal.  It was packed with family members, but it felt wrong.  The one person who was ALWAYS sitting in the same chair every time you went there, was gone.  It also felt very wrong to be going through her things.  It felt very wrong that family members were dividing up her things amongst each other.  I understand that is what has to happen when someone dies, but I wasn’t ready for it.

This is the woman who emotional abused and neglected me for a long time, yet I miss her.  She was a constant in my life.  She was always there.  I came to the realization last week that I never thought I would see her die.  I’ve always expected to die young, always.  It might be because my mother died young, but I never thought about the future at all because I was sure that I wouldn’t have a long life.  I was ok with it, but it left me not ever contemplating the situation of my grandmother’s death.  Even when she was in the hospital, I never thought she was going to die.  It was a non-issue.  Now I can think of nothing else than mortality.

My grandmother kept everything.  Letters, medical records, pictures, keepsakes and even every single one of my report cards from 3rd grade (when I went to live with her) until I graduated high school.  It was kind of fun going through those.  I found the only “D” I ever received.  I also found a letter that was written by an old friend of my father’s family to my father about his behavior after my mother died.  I always loved this friend as a second mother.  There was one sentence in that letter that rocked my world.  It said, “On her death bed, she made you swear to never send her daughters to live with her mother.”  Imagine my jaw dropping.  My mother apparently knew that my grandmother would not be a good person to raise me if it was one of her last requests.  Of course, we know what happened.  My father didn’t give two shits what my mother wanted, and he did exactly what she didn’t want him to.

If I had even the slightest bit of love left for my father, it disappeared the moment I read that sentence.

I guess the bright side of my grandmother’s passing is that I was given her old cedar chest which, as it turns out, was my mother’s.  It was her hope chest.  I imagine my grandmother got it when my mother died, and I remember it always being at the foot of my grandmother’s bed.  It’s in rough shape, but I plan to restore it as a treasured memory of my mother.  I also got my mother’s graduation picture, which is just stunning.  I’d never seen it before, and I treasure it.  It’s beautifully framed, and sits in a prominent place in my living room.

I am worried about the aftermath of my grandmother’s passing.  I’m not sure what will happen to my family.  She was the matriarch after all.  I don’t want us to grow apart because she’s not around as a center point.

Mostly, I have a head full of new facts and emotions I’m not quite handling well.  I know it’s a process, like everything in life, but I’m letting myself get overwhelmed.  I’m letting myself hurt for awhile.  If I know my cycle, I’ll become numb after that and then I’ll start analyzing.

I hope the Good Lord gives me peace for awhile because it’s already been a really rough year.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. kate1975
    Mar 18, 2011 @ 14:19:54

    Good and healing thoughts to you.

    Kate

    Reply

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