Grieving for Grandma

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My grandma and I when I was about 9 years old.

In all of my 33 years on this earth, I’ve never known how it truly feels to grieve until now.  My father died in a head-on collision when I was 8 months old, but I was too young to understand.  As I got older and saw my friends with their fathers, I would cry and plead for him to my mother.  She comforted me as best she could, and those moments would pass.  But those times don’t compare to the loss of my grandmother a few months ago.

She had been in and out of the hospital for a few months.  I always expected her to come out as she had all the other times, but this time was different.  My grandma had been saying things in the months leading up to her passing that foreshadowed it.  She told me what song she wanted sung at her home going, and she kept saying that she thought she was leaving this world the last time she was in the hospital.  My words to her were, “Grandma, you’re not going anywhere until you and God are good and ready for you to go.”  What I didn’t know was that she was.

That was my prayer for her also–that she’d be ready when it was time.  I didn’t expect for it to happen for a long while though.  She was only 81 years old and was full of spunk and laughter and most importantly the Word of God.  Surely that was enough to sustain her for many more years.  Although that was what I wanted for her, that was not what she desired.

When I got the call that she had gone back to the hospital a day before she passed, I did not go visit her.  In my mind, if I had rushed up there to see her, it would seem like I was expected the worst.  So I just prayed that she would be fine as usual.  A part of me felt deep down inside that no matter how hard I prayed, if her will was not in agreement, it wouldn’t matter.

The next evening my mom got a call from my aunt saying that my grandma had coded 4 times.  The doctors revived her, but they would not do it anymore if her heart stopped again.  My mom and I took the trip to Columbia to see her, both of us in silence, whispering prayers.  I didn’t speed, even though my mom wanted me to.  As soon as we got there my cousin met us in the lobby with the news that grandma didn’t make it.  She had actually been gone when we got the call.  They just didn’t want to tell us over the phone (which I appreciated).

Man, that next hour with my family and my grandma lying in the hospital bed was rough.  Calls started coming in from friends and family, tears started pouring down my face, guilt started creeping in over all the things I didn’t do for her while she was still alive, and thoughts of a future without her started invading my mind.  I was relieved to find out that she had been making preparations all along–making peace with old foes, contacting those with whom she had lost contact, and focusing on her relationship with God instead of worrying about her children.  Yet I was angry that she decided to leave us behind.  So many emotions.  So many changes.

And 3 months later, I still feel these changes.  When I go somewhere that reminds me of her, it hurts.  When I dream of her, it hurts.  When I think about spending the upcoming holidays without her, it hurts.  I know that she is still with me and that her legacy lives on in me–her loud laugh, her love for shopping, and her thick hair are a few of the things we share.  I miss her dearly and I know that even now if she had a choice, she wouldn’t come back here, for she is rejoicing in Heaven with the angels.

Grandma, I love you and will never forget your love for me.

Has anyone else experienced grief in this way?  Feel free to share your experience.

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