An Open Letter To A Loved One That Has Passed Away

An Open Letter To A Loved One That Has Passed Away

On loss, grief, and what happens afterwards.

I would like to precede this article by saying that for me, this letter is directed to my grandmother, who passed away earlier this year. My hope in writing this letter is in self-expression of grieveing for me, as well as connection with my reader.

Dear loved one,

As I grieve for you, it sometimes feels like I am incapable of crying anymore, but I am always proven wrong. It has been over two months since you passed away, and though I don't think of you as often as I did at the beginning of this journey, you are never completely forgotten. Happy memories are tainted with sadness as I realize that for each of the things we did together innumerable times, there was a last time and there will never be another. It is hard to do things that we once always did together. I can't think about mixing lemonade or making homemade biscuits the same way.

When you died, I had to adjust to a life that you were no longer a part of. I had never lived in a world where you didn't exist. I had never even lived in a world where you lived more than a mile away from my house, and in your last years, you were in the room next door to me.

In your last years of life, Alzheimer's defined you. Caring for someone with Alzheimer's is not easy, and at times I resented you, which I am ashamed of. The disease chipped away pieces of your personality. You could no longer cook or sew. You couldn't be alone, and you always wanted answers to the same questions. It was all too easy for me to forget about who you were without the disease, and looking back, I wish I had done some things differently. I hope you can forgive me for this.

When you were alive, I thought I had a good understanding of you as a person. You had always been a presence in my life. You were instrumental in making me the person I have become today. But when you died, I felt like I didn't know you at all. There was so much of your life that I didn't know about, and I had never bothered to find out from you. Defining you only in relation to me was a naïve way to consider you, and I'm sorry that I didn't realize this sooner. It is the curse of any loss, but especially death, that true appreciation for a person is not realized until it is too late.

When I was a part of the funeral services, I realized that you would never get to see me graduate college. One of many things that you would not experience with me. I hope that you would be proud of me. I hope you would approve of the choices I have made and would love me regardless.

I will not think of you everyday. A time will come when I have adjusted to a life without you, as sad as that thought may be. But I will never forget who you were, and what you meant to me, and what you taught me. You taught me how to do my homework neatly and how to be generous. You taught me hospitality and how to properly cook spam. I hope that I can do your memory justice. Your belongings that you gave to me will always be treated with care. I'm grateful for all the small pieces of your life I get to carry on into mine, even though you yourself are not here.

The sun has gone down on this part of my life, but my life is not over. I want to live in a way that honors your memory. I know that someday I will see you again. So for that reason, I will not say goodbye now. I will simply say goodnight.

Goodnight, Grandma.

Love, Jordan.

Cover Image Credit: OIan Mills

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Whenever you hear about roommate stories, they're almost never good, and they usually scare you into never wanting a roommate. "Did you hear her roommate steals her clothes?" "Her roommate doesn't shower!" "Wow, her roommate doesn't talk at all, and doesn't do laundry." From what I hear, there are more bad stories than good. That is why I consider myself lucky, because my roommate is nothing like one of those bad stories. When life hands you a good roommate after talking to about 40 girls through Facebook, a few things happen.

1. You always have someone to talk to.

2. You know each other's schedules, and whenever you both have a break is an exciting time.

3. You'll never have to dance alone.

4. You always have someone to do something with, even if it's just walking down the hall.

5. You both look out for each other, because this is your first time without your parents.

6. You always have a shoulder to lean on when things get tough.

7. Borrowing each other's things is a daily thing.

8. You TRY to help with each other's homework and assignments.

9. They're encouraging when it comes to boys. (Unless they're a f*ckboy.)

10. They're your biggest support system and your personal cheerleader.

11. They never forget to wish you luck on a big exam.

12. They accept how gross you are in the morning and not so pleasant sometimes.

13. You both know each other's favorite and least favorite things.

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Cover Image Credit: Jordan Griffin

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I'm Choosing To Spend Time With Papa While I Still Have Him

There's still time to make memories.


So I am fortunate enough to be able to say I haven't lost many close relatives yet. As I get older though, I'm starting to think more and more about making the most out of my time with them. It's a fact of life that they aren't going to be around forever and it just hit me recently. I was talking to my Papa (my father's dad) about some things we want to work on in his workshop and I had the thought that whatever we don't get done in the next few weeks before he goes to Florida, we can take care of when he gets back in the Spring. But for how much longer am I going to be able to put these bonding experiences off?

Papa is 72. He very well might have many more years to go, but he also might not. That's something I've always kind of known in an abstract way, but it hit me for possibly the first time that he could pass away before we ever get to finish those projects we've been working on for years. Since that thought crossed my mind, I've been thinking a lot more about the time I've spent with him and how important it has been to me.

I think my favorite thing about spending time with my Papa is his pride when he teaches me something new. I've always thought something sad about life is that no matter how much you try to record your thoughts or pass things on when you die those things are lost to the rest of the world. Yeah, I can teach someone a skill I have, but I'll never pass on everything. In much the same way, I think as my Papa has gotten older and acquired so many different experiences that he really wants to be able to pass those things on. When I work with him I always make a point to reference things he has taught me and I love seeing the pride in his eyes when he knows I actually listen to what he says.

This weekend I'm driving up to West Branch and working on some of those projects we've been putting off for the last few years. I think we all need to take more time to appreciate the people we care about. This isn't just about grandparents, either. You never really know how much time you have left with the people that are important to you, so absolutely spend as much time as you can with them. I'm going to make some more memories with my Papa, and then I'm going to start making time for the rest of the important people in my life.


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