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.