Grief is hard. I think about you all the time. At random times throughout the day. When something good happens and I wish I could call to tell you all about it. When we are going through something difficult, and I just want to hear your voice. When I come across old photographs, things you gave me, or other memories.
Sometimes I forget you aren’t here anymore. I’ll pick up the phone to call and then it hits me that you won’t be the one to answer. It’s been almost a year now since you passed. I can’t even believe it’s been that long. August marks one year since you first got sick and were admitted to the hospital. I remember it vividly.
We knew your time was coming. You were slowly losing strength and stamina.
The cancer and the stroke had taken so much from you over the past few years. So when pneumonia hit, your body just couldn’t take any more. And you were finally placed on hospice care and sent home.
Your strength amazed me. You never gave up. You kept fighting all the way up until the end. You faced death with strength and courage and faith in knowing you were going home to be with Jesus.
I find peace in knowing your last days were spent at home, surrounded by everyone who loved you. That nearly the whole family was able to make the trip from our various locations to come and say goodbye. And that you are now in Heaven, reunited with grandpa after so many years and finally not in any pain or suffering.
This was my first experience with the death of someone close to me. I had lost family members before but never anyone I knew well or had a relationship with.
So losing you, Grandma, was one of the hardest and saddest experiences of my life.
I am so glad you were around long enough to meet all three of my children. To watch me get married and graduate from college and buy our first home. That you were willing to make the five-hour trip in the car to my house that year before you passed because you wanted to come and see where I was living now. Even though I told you that you didn’t need to come if you weren’t feeling up for it.
I am thankful for the time we had. But I wish we had more.
There is this guilt inside me for not being there in the last few years. Life took me in another direction and hours away from you. Making it to see you was never easy—between work and kids and money. I tried to call as often as I could, but I know I didn’t call as much as I should have.
I know I wasn’t there for your fight with cancer or your recovery from the stroke. And I wish more than anything that I could have been. Sometimes this wave of guilt just comes over me as I’m remembering how much I miss you. But I remind myself that you knew how much I loved you and you understood how crazy life had gotten with special needs children and all of the hardships we were going through. I know you wouldn’t want me to feel bad for things I cannot control.
No matter how much time passes, I will always miss you.
But I’m learning every day how to keep going without you here. Because for so many years I prayed for you and was calling to check on you and every day I got updates from family about how you were doing. It’s an empty and numb feeling now with that being gone from my life. Even a year later.
So I’m holding onto the hope I have in Christ and knowing that this goodbye is not forever. I will see you again, Grandma. And until that day, your memory will live on with all of us here who love and miss you.