Losing A Grandparent Changed My Life

Losing A Grandparent Changed My Life

Live for them, and give them a legacy to be proud of.
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Death isn’t what the average 20-something thinks about every day. You don’t think it will happen to you, or the people around you. You know that it exists because you see heart-wrenching reports on the news daily of another life lost to ignorance or hate.

Yes, losing a grandparent definitely changes your life. For some of us, it's a drastic change. To others: they knew it was coming. Still, some weren't even close to their grandparents because they lived too far away from each other to build a relationship in person.

I can't even fathom that considering both of my grandparents lived a city away from me or across town. They are your second set of parents and the love you've had for your entire life. They are the lessons learned and the ones holding your hand through it all.

When my grandfather died (affectionately known to me as Papa), my life changed. I watched him take his last breath in the hospital alone. I called my mother to tell her that her father died. In that moment: my emotionally sheltered life was torn apart. In that moment: I had to grow up. The person I had leaned on my entire life was gone.

I literally reconsidered everything I had done in my life in a matter of hours. I thought about college, finally graduating and walking across that stage: cords swinging and my tassel hanging there. That was his biggest dream for me, we were only a year away from it when he left this earth.

When a grandparent passes they take a part of you: big or small. When you were younger you planned out life with them. You shared your dreams with them, your insecurities, your childish ways and most of all you shared your love.

They, in turn, taught you lessons about life, helped you realize those dreams, and never let you go without being told you were loved every single time they saw you. They are the suppliers of happiness, security, and laughs. Friends come and go, but your family stays with you forever.

The bottom line is: most everyone knows what it's like to lose a grandparent. We all cope differently, and leaning on others is the best way to keep yourself up. Facing the reality of death is the only way we can accept it and move on. Moving on doesn't mean forgetting, it means understanding. We were lucky enough to have these amazing people to guide us through our younger years, teaching us these vital lessons.

I can't tell you how many times a day I wish I had my papa back. Learning to cope without them is the hardest part, even years later. Grandparents prepare you for life's greatest gains. Little did they know they would be their grandchildren's biggest loss. Live for them, and give them a legacy to be proud of.

Cover Image Credit: Author's photo

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Best Friend Breakups Are Harder Than Relationship Breakups, That's Just A Fact

What happens when the person who you go to for everything isn't there for you anymore?
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You become best friends, you start to plan when you’ll be bridesmaids in each other’s wedding and how your kids will be best friends. But then reality and life happen and you two don’t talk anymore. This is what we call a best friend break up, and honestly, it can be worse than relationship break ups.

Yes, relationship breakups are heartbreaking, but you have best friends to get you through them. So, what happens when that same best friend isn’t there, who helps you get over that?

We became best friends over silly things, the way we both liked Starbucks and how we both thought some girl was annoying. One day of just talking and laughing started to grow into a friendship and from there we became best friends. We were inseparable, even going to class with one another so we could drive to class together.

It was your typical college girl friendship - we stayed up late and talked about boys and went shopping together. You were even there to stick up for me when the boy of dreams came around and no one else saw what you did. You saw how I felt about him and you were my number one supporter and made sure that we were together. We lived together and laughed and you third wheeled on our dates with us.

But when the boy of your dreams came along, I wasn’t there for you the same.

I was feeling as if I was losing my best friend and that’s when the end started to come. It was my fault and when you needed me there to support you and your relationship I wasn’t there and I regret that. But it happened and we did still hang out and had our girl time with each other. But things were fading, you were starting to get new best friends and hang out with. I got a puppy and she started to fill all my time. And that was the break up happened.

We started to talk less and less until it was only talking in class and about class. So, then that was the end and I felt alone and sad and missed my best friend. But time goes on and yes, I still miss mine, but you know what things never could be the same. No matter how much you wish they could be.

Obviously, not all best friend breakups are like mine, but they do all hold the same pain. You still get that feeling to text them whenever something exciting happens and you feel that peg of sadness hit when you see them post pictures calling someone else their best friend. So, to all the best friends that have been lost, we miss you and hope that life is everything that ever wanted.

Cover Image Credit: Katy Belcher

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This Is Why I Said Goodbye

I realized I was loving you with all my heart when you weren’t even willing to give me half of yours.
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Hey,

It’s been a while since our souls have connected. We see each other around every now and then, but it’s not the same. Nowhere close. Short, sporadic “How are you doing” 30-second conversations, and then we’re off, back to our own worlds without each other. I’m not sure if you’re too “busy” to have paid attention to the fact that I’m not reaching out as much anymore, that you’re no longer a person in my everyday life. But I am completely aware. And if you’re wondering, yes it’s intentional.

I didn’t want to say goodbye, I didn’t. For the longest time, I gave you all of my heart. I let our friendship drag on way longer than it should have, me constantly rowing the boat, pushing the oars against the waves in the hot sun, while you laid back enjoying the warm breeze, joining in whenever you felt like it.

I told myself I enjoyed your company. And I did. I really and truly did, especially in the beginning. You were there, you were present. It was fun. But slowly, you faded. And then so did I.

Didn’t you know? How could you not see? That I was getting tired, exhausted? That I couldn’t put 100% effort into rowing the boat by myself?

And now, I’ve reached shore and recognized that having you in my life has been more toxic than healthy. You crafting space for me as a lower priority, watching me carry the boat to and from shore, the physical burden not as harmful or damaging so much as the emotional one. The worst part is that I let you come back and break my heart over and over whenever you felt like it. I realized I was loving you with all my heart when you weren’t even willing to give me half of yours.

I recall our conversation that one day, me telling you over and over again how I needed your effort in this boat, and you saying you were sorry and that you’d try harder. And me, believing in you, that you could change. Me, accepting your apologies and excuses because I thought having you there even just a little was better than not having you there at all.

Now, this is me on the dock, watching the sun rise as a new beginning comes forward. This is me forging my own path, prioritizing my own mental health, and realizing I need to keep my space from you. Me, learning to heal without you. Knowing that I’m strong enough to row my own boat, that I can be alive and thrive on my own.

I hope this isn’t goodbye forever, but I can’t and I won’t make any promises. I can’t predict the future, but I know that I can’t continue having the same relationship with you that we had before. Maybe in a year’s time, I’ll have changed and you’ll still be the same. Or, maybe you’ll be different and I’ll be different, and our paths will once again find each other. And maybe we’ll find that same beauty in each other’s company that we had in the very beginning.

But we’re not in the future yet. I’m here, and you’re there.

And this is me: taking the oars and jumping back into the boat. Learning to enjoy the waves once again.

Cover Image Credit: Roberto Nickson via Unsplash

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