Losing My Grandmother Was My First Heart-Break
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Losing My Grandmother Was My First Heart-Break

Losing a grandparent is never easy; losing a grandparent that was like a second mother is even worse.

Losing My Grandmother Was My First Heart-Break
Mary Messina

No one and nothing can prepare you for the death of a close friend or family member. I didn't know the feeling of true heart-break until I was 24 year's old; the day I lost my grandmother. I can still feel the hurt and loss of breath when I think about that day.

My grandmother was like a second mother to me. She was always so warm and welcoming; I felt like I could tell her anything. We were so close, it was as if she was one of my best friends. She was a fiesty woman with a backbone that you wouldn't believe. She would tell you off in a second if she felt the need to but, at the same time, had one of the biggest hearts I've ever known. Christmas was her favorite holiday and to this day, I can't help but think about her more whenever that time of year rolls around. She would smile big and have her camera ready whenever someone was opening a gift she had given them. You could clearly see that it made her extremely happy to give to others.

She was my safe place when I needed it; she always had my back. It makes me cry just writing this because I miss her and her hugs when she knew you really needed it. She was the rock of the family, the mama bear who looked out for her cubs. Whether it was her own children or her grandchildren; she was there, always.

I remember the day she was diagnosed with Staged 4 lung cancer at only 67 years old. I was about to leave for work when I got the call that she had an emergency appointment with the doctor. I quickly made a last minute call out of work to make the appointment with my mother and aunts. I can remember it like it was yesterday. The doctor pulled my family into his office while my grandmother was getting a few more tests done. He began to tell us about her diagnosis and instant sadness rushed through me; I knew what this meant. I looked around at my mother and my aunts and I was confused because I was the only one crying. I remember the doctor saying “everyone should be reacting the way she is.” He was referring to me. As time went on, I now realize why the others didn't show much emotion. She is there mother, they were in shock or maybe they didn't want to believe it; maybe the severity of it all didn't sink in right away.

I remember writing her a letter right after, begging her to please stay strong and to fight this as hard as she could. I believe she wanted to but also knew it was too late. She barely lasted 3 months before the cancer had spread had taken over her body and eventually had taken her life.

We had gotten home hospice for her, so the family and I were able to take care of her through the process. Each day, we watched her slowly slip away, fearing the day to come. 4 days before the end came, I had listened to her singing happy birthday to my uncle, knowing it would be the last time and it was. It was the last time she spoke before she fell into a coma the next day. I slept over the night before she passed and woke up from a heavy shake from my aunt; I jumped up so fast I almost fell over. The woman who had been a second mother to me and the mother to my own mother was gone.

I was never so heart broken in my life and I still feel the pain every day. I believe the grief never really goes away, but it gets easier, only because I know she is still with me every day. I will tell my children stories about their great-grandmother and how she had such an amazing impact on my life. A woman who taught me how to be tough but to still have a big heart.

Grandmom: “I love you, Mary, My Mary”

Me: “I love you, too, Grammy”

Grandmom: “Ditto, babe”

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