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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Dear Mom, From Your Daughter In College

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Dear Mom,

Do you remember when I was three and we would play together? It was the age of princesses and carpet that was actually lava, and you were the prettiest woman in the whole wide world. Do you remember when I was in high school and the world seemed too big and scary? You would know exactly when to take me on a mother-daughter date and have me laughing about anything and everything, and you were the smartest woman in the whole wide world. Now, I'm buried in homework and deadlines hours away from you and we don't get to talk as much you want, but you're still the prettiest, smartest woman in the whole wide world.

I'm sorry that I don't call you as much as I should, and you know a lot of what goes on in my world via posts and pictures. Our schedules just seem to never line up so we can have the three-hour conversations about everything like I want to. I know we don't agree on absolutely everything, but I cherish every piece of advice you give me, even though it probably seems like I'm hardly listening. I know that sometimes we get on each other's nerves, but thank you for putting up with me for all of these years. Thank you for listening to me cry, complain, question things and go on and on about how everything in college is. I know I don't come home as much as I used to, but I think about you all the time. After all, you're my first friend, and therefore, my best friend.

Thank you for celebrating my successes with me, and not downing me too hard for my failures. Thank you for knowing what mistakes I shouldn't make, but letting me make them anyway because you want me to live my life and be my own person. Thank you for knowing when to ask about the boy I've been talking about, and when to stop without any questions. Thank you for letting me be my crazy, weird, sometimes know-it-all self.

Thank you for sitting back and watching me spread my wings and fly. There is no way I could have known how to grow into the woman I am today if I hadn't watched you while I was growing up so I would know what kind of person I should aspire to be. Thank you for being the first (and the best) role model I ever had. You continue to inspire and amaze me every day with all that you do, and all that you are.

I don't know how I got so lucky to have a person in my life like you, but I thank the Lord every night for blessing me with the smartest, prettiest person to be my best friend, my role model, my confidant, my person and most importantly, my mother.


Your daughter

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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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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