I Should Have Reconciled Sooner But, Grandma, I Miss You All The Time

I Should Have Reconciled Sooner But, Grandma, I Miss You All The Time

I really hope you knew how much I loved you and still love you.

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It has been over a year since you have passed away. I have not written about how I feel now that you are gone. It is not because I have nothing to say about it, but rather I am unsure where to begin. Grandma, you have always been there for me, even when I refused to talk to you or Grandpa, even though I really wanted to talk to you. I needed time to process, and I was too afraid you would pressure me into talking to my Dad which I was not ready to do at the time.

I never got the chance to tell you why I literally vanished out of your life for a few years. I was scared, confused, and didn't know what to believe. I also didn't see a reason to bring it up since it would do nothing but cause pain. I up and left because I couldn't take it anymore.
I was tired of being told where to go and with whom I had to spend my time with. I was a confused teenager, and I was trying to figure out who I was. Maybe I should have opted to stay with you and Grandpa more often.

I quickly forgot, somehow, the security I felt going to your house. Not that I wasn't safe with Mama or Daddy, but I had too much stuff to sort out, and I had no clue how to do it. I could have also gone to spend time with my sister, and my brother moved out to live with his dad when I was seven, but I think I felt I had to handle how I felt on my own. I see now I didn't have to, but it did make me into the person I am today. I am proud of who I am today. My ignorant teenage self ignored you and Grandpa and even Daddy when in reality I should have been more open about how I was feeling. I am glad you came to my graduation, even though I saw you and chose to walk away. I can only imagine the pain I put you through, and for that, I am truly sorry.

But this is not about why I was distant for those few years, but rather it is a tribute of how much you mean to me. I miss you so much, and it is hard to believe you are no longer here on earth with us anymore. I know it was your time to go, and you were in so much pain from the cancer. I am glad you are no longer in pain, but it doesn't take away the pain I feel when I want to pick up the phone and talk to you.

I am so thankful for the time I could spend with you. I remember one day, when I was eight-years-old, I was visiting you and Grandpa while on break from school. You came home and sat on the couch with me. I think you thought I was asleep because once you placed my head in your lap and gently rubbed my back, you began to tell Grandpa what the doctor told you.

I tried so hard to pretend I was asleep as you told Grandpa it had been confirmed that you have cancer. I could only old the tears back so long before I just let it loose. You were dying. That is what I thought. I never knew anyone who had cancer and survived. I prayed to God; please let me have more time with Grandma. I am not ready for her to die.

You got better, and you were in remission for eighteen years before the cancer came back. I had eighteen more years with you before the cancer took you from this world.
I remember spending the entire summer with you and even spring breaks. I loved going on vacations with you and Grandpa. I was able to have fun and not worry about anything. One of my favorite things to do on vacation was swimming. I would have swum all day long if you let me. Oh, and always going to some store (it never mattered where) and getting me another journal to write in. You always believed in my writing.

One year for Christmas, I was in Eighth Grade, you and Grandpa got me a book Just Jane by William Lavender and had him sign it. He was my penpal for about a year at that time, and you thought it would be a great surprise to do that for me. You got his address from I am guessing Daddy and wrote to him and asked if he would mind doing that for me. I was so excited, and I immediately started to reread that book again. You also, throughout the years, bought me The Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket, and before too long I had the entire series. My reading was just as important to you as my writing. We would go to Books-A-Million, and you would let me pick out a few books each time we went there. Thank you.
Thinking about this now, I realize I haven't read as much or as often as I know I should. I know since I am a writer, it is important to read. I promise I will get into the habit of reading more often. That is a great tool for writers to be able to grow. I have the kindle that Johnny gave me, and I try to bring it with me to work, but I forget sometimes.

I am glad I finally decided to call you and talk to you. It was when I was going into the Navy. I wanted you and Grandpa to drive me to Beaufort from Ellijay, Ga. I was unsure of how to talk to you. I was afraid of the years that had passed, and I caused too much damage to be able to fix it. My anxiety quickly faded when I heard you answer the phone like no time has passed at all saying, "Hey baby girl!"I apologized for not calling sooner, but it was awkward at first since I felt like I had to justify why I did what I did. The more we talked, the more comfortable I began. Before I knew it, I called you more and more, and my fears began to fade away.

I think about you all the time, especially when I am on my way to Food Lion. I used to call you when I was either on my way to get food or on my way back home. I tried my best to call you every day. Life got busy time to time, but I hope you knew how much I loved you. It seems stupid to say, but I sometimes wonder if I focused too much on venting to you, and not enough time asking you how you were. I know you loved me so much, but I hope I wasn't selfish when I would call you.

I remember the last time you were able to visit. I am sorry I didn't visit you often. I should have made trips to see you, but instead, I made you come to where I was. Before you had to go back, you looked at me with tears in your eyes and said, "Andrea, I'm scared." I held you tight as I let you cry on my shoulder. I knew at that moment, you realized the cancer was back, and I believe you knew ultimately it would kill you. I held you tightly, and I didn't want to let you go.

A month later, I tried calling you, and Daddy answered the phone and told me you weren't feeling good. I heard you say, "Tell my baby girl I love her." I told Daddy to tell you, "I love you Grandma, I will call you tomorrow." Tomorrow came and when I called, Beth answered, and you were having another bad day. I couldn't help but think was this the end? I should have gotten in my car then and drove to you, but I guess part of me was scared. I decided to give it another day and go from there. I knew I should have gotten in the car and went to see you. I should have comforted you in your final days on earth. The way you have always been there for me. It was the least I could do.

February 14th, Valentine's day was changed forever. We had a chili cookoff at the church that Saturday, so I decided to go to Walmart to get items we needed for the chili and soup we were going to make. My phone rang, it was Daddy. I answered the phone."Grandma is heading to the hospital." I heard the rest of the conversation at the time, but that statement kept going around in the back of my head."When I know, more I will call you." I got off the phone with Daddy and decided to still go to Walmart. I needed something to distract me from the worry I had. I want Grandma to be alright.

I got a cart and put Johnathon in the seat and began to grab the items we needed from Walmart. I kept looking at my phone hoping it would ring, but it didn't. I was almost done with the shopping trip. I needed to grab Johnathon a pair of shoes since he outgrew his other ones, and one other ingredient for the chili Johnny wanted to try to make. I was in the spices isle, when I heard my phone make a noise. I missed a phone call from my sister. I called her back.

When she answered, I could hear the sadness in her voice and I knew it wasn't good. "Did you call Daddy? He tried to call you, but you phone went right to voicemail." I began to tear up as I said, "No." "She didn't make it. I am so sorry." I ease myself down to the floor, using the buggy as an aid and I began to cry. After a few minutes, I think, I got up and grabbed Johnathon and his shoes, and left the buggy there. I realize now I could have grabbed the cart and bought the items I placed in there, but I just wanted to get out of Walmart. Johnathon needed shoes, or I would have left those there too. I called Johnny as I made my way to the checkout line.

When I got to the garden center checkout, the cashier asked, "Are you okay?" All I could say was, "No."

I still listen to your voicemails I have on my phone. I have three from you, and I have the voicemail my sister left me telling me to call her or Daddy as soon as possible. Johnny and I sang your favorite song, "Because He Lives," at your funeral as I promised you we would. I would give anything to hear your voice one last time, but at the same time, I know that isn't possible. I am glad you are away from pain and you are no longer suffering. Grandma, I wrote this for you because I needed to get these words out. I needed to demonstrate the love I have for you, and I really do hope you know how much I love and miss you.

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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House Hunting At Its Finest

It's incredibly stressful and takes way too long!

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House hunting is hard. I thought at first it would be fun, exciting, and interesting. But now, I'm tired and bored and just want to give up.

I've been looking for a house for a month now and I knew it going in to it, it would take a while. I knew that I wouldn't just walk into the first house and be like, "this is it, this is the one".

But, when you look at 6-10 houses every time you search a day, it gets stressful and tiring.

When I started looking at houses it was because I was planning on getting a house with some friends to rent out for the next 3 years while at UCF. All because I didn't get a spot-on campus with the lottery, I got waitlisted. So, I need to look for housing to secure a place to live next fall.

Now, my dad wants to turn it into a small business. Buy a house, rent out the rooms for a reasonable price, cheaper than some apartments, and make a profit.

It sounds like a good plan.

But then you have to factor in: location and how far it is from campus, the price range in which you could make a profit, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the price per square inch, the property taxes, if the house needs work or not, upgrades, improvement, parking availability, etc. The list just goes on and on.

It's hard to find the "perfect" house.

I want to be able to make it "home" for the next 3 years. I want to make it somewhere where I can hang out, have friends over, and love to live in.

Every time I walk into a new house, I automatically think, "what would I do to this room? Or that?". I think of furniture and décor. I think about how I would design it and make it ours.

I even made a Pinterest board, one for home décor and one for bedrooms.

I feel like I'm going overboard but I can't help it.

I get excited when it comes to the designing aspect, but my parents have to be so nit-picky. They came up over the weekend to search for houses with me and every time we walk into a house I hear: "the carpet is stained, needs to be removed", "the kitchen is outdated, needs to be upgraded", "the bathroom needs work", "the wall has a hole", "not enough bathrooms" and so much more.

It's not like I don't chime in with comments either.

I do put in a fair share of my personal opinions about the quality of the houses too.

But, at this point I wish we could just settle on something. Again, I know this takes time but I just get anxious.

So, we are going into the 5thweek and still haven't agreed on a house. My mom has her picks, my dad has his, and I have mine. And none of them overlap. Frankly, I don't get a "say" in what my parents chose since they will be purchasing the house. But, I get to live in it, my friends are the ones who will be paying them rent. So, I feel like my opinion matters. Whenever I ask questions or give input, they talk over me.

As if, I wasn't even there!

Yet, that is how the ball rolled. Wow, I'm borderline whining over here. It's not like I'm not grateful but, I wish I was valued as an adult helping in this situation.

Well thank you for coming to my "TED" talk! And reading about yet another annoying and trivial struggle of mine. I'll write again soon.

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