Holidays. Birthdays. The day they physically left us. These are the ones that hit the hardest—the toughest days. But they are also the expected ones, which makes it just the slightest bit more manageable.
It’s the ones you don’t see coming that absolutely break you. The ones that come from way out in leftfield and hit you like a ton of bricks. The ones that force you to grieve all over again, something you never thought you would have to do.
It’s when my daughter is happily sitting in a church pew reading her prayers when I wish they were here to see it. It’s when my husband and I are enjoying a night out at the casino, and I instantly think of them. It’s when March rolls around, and I hear that first sound of a bagpipe that my eyes instantly water imagining their smiles. The tiniest moments that make me say, “They would have loved this.”
It’s these and the thousand more moments that cross my mind all the time. Especially when I look at the sweet girl in front of me and think about how much they would love her and be in absolute awe of the remarkable human she is becoming. I know they are all with her, but it doesn’t hurt less.
But it’s these days, when I miss you most, that I also try to make the most out of the day. I put down the phone a little more and pick up my daughter instead. I put away the frozen food and pull out a family recipe. I play music that makes me think of them or watch movies that remind me of them. I use one of their catchphrases to bring out a little laugh. I reminisce in more ways than I can count.
On days like this, I love a little harder and try to fight a little less. The tiny little things that would send me spiraling any other day don’t seem to bother me as much. I stop thinking about how hard it is without them and try to remind myself of how good it was with them. The memories are endless and surpassed only by the amount of love I felt from each of them.
I show my daughter your photos. Although she never met her great-grandmas, they hang beautifully over our stairs, and we point them out by name. She doesn’t understand the magnitude of it all, but she understands Mommy had grandmas too, and she loved them very much.
It breaks my heart into a million tiny pieces when my daughter points out a photo of herself and my grandpa—the man she had the deepest bond with. She delicately walks past the photo hanging on our stairs and heartbreakingly says, “Mommy, that’s your grandpa! You really loved him, right? I liked him too right?” And she did. She so, so did.
While those moments break me, they also rebuild me. They remind me of how lucky we were to have these people in our lives. Lucky for the moments and memories. Lucky to have the best angels on our side. The ones I whisper a quiet thank you to after every doctor visit that goes well, every time we overcome a new obstacle, and any time something good happens.
And then I talk to them. In my head, out loud, through my writing. I ask for help and guidance. I ask if I’m doing this crazy thing called life okay. I tell them about the things their great-granddaughter is up to and how blessed I feel for the life we’ve built.
They may not be here physically, but I feel them here all the time. They were a significant part of my beginning and therefore are so very much a part of the life I live now. The wonderful life they helped me build without even knowing it.
If I’m lucky, the days I miss them most will also happen to be the days I see that bright red bird sitting in our backyard. The one I’ve convinced myself is a sign. We say good morning, and then I hug my daughter just a little tighter, for a little longer, and that’s how I make it through the days I miss them most.