I have had a really rough semester. I wasn't expecting to have such a horrible semester so far and I'm not exactly taking it well! Just as I thought maybe things would get better, I found out my grandmother wasn't doing well. I knew I was going to lose her soon.
After finding out this news and hearing from the doctor, my dad and his siblings (my wonderful aunts and uncles) did the preparation they needed to in order to give my grandma the perfect send-off. They had been working on it for a while, and they had saved enough funds for services a long time ago, but despite that, I don't think it really helped at all with the process of grieving.
Sometimes, I think knowing is worse. Once I knew she was sick and that she would probably pass, I didn't want to pick up my phone. Any time I got a call from anyone, I thought it was going to be the call that would break my heart. And when I finally did, it still hurt me. Even though I knew exactly why my dad was calling, that didn't help me come to terms with the fact that she was gone.
Every time I told someone that I had lost my grandmother, you know, they would follow it by saying, "Oh I'm so sorry for your loss, was it unexpected?" And technically, no, I guess it wasn't. But even if you know someone might leave you soon, that doesn't take away from the shock of never being able to see that person again. Especially with someone who I've known and loved my whole life.
This wasn't a very distant relative, or a friend of a relative, or something like that. This was my grandmother. She held me when I was born, she fed me pasta on Sundays and taught me how to be a good person. She told me about her relationship with God and of stories about my dad when he was little. She was so funny, she had a laugh you could recognize from miles away, she had endless stories to tell, and she's part of the reason I am here today.
When someone who has had such an impact on your family, passes it's almost like it can't be true. You never think about how it's going to be the day you have to say goodbye. I felt as though I was so numb to the situation due to the fact that we had known it was going to happen for a while, but then I got to the funeral home. That's when it became true to me. I couldn't go up to her right away. I think I was scared and didn't want to make it real.
No one can prepare you for that. Not all of the warnings from the doctors or from your family can prepare you to see someone you love like that.
After I had my moment with her, my dad and aunt Kim holding me and comforting me, I felt as though I could finally step outside of my own grief. Of course, I was worried about my family the entire time, but it wasn't until then that I saw how much it was affecting everyone. And that, I think, is the worst part of it all.
I hadn't seen some of my cousins in what felt like years. Sharing stories, and sticking together in this time is helpful, but watching the ones you love hurt and ache is definitely just as difficult.
All in all, I don't think anything can prepare you to come to terms with death. It's harder than we think, and the pain stays with you forever. All you can do is lean on each other and remember the one you loved in a positive light.
I love you gradnma Jennie.