Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Grief for What Wasn't


My Grandma's wake is tonight.

She died this past Thursday before the dawn.  I got there just a few hours later, not knowing that she had already passed and was met with awkward aides, sympathetic nurses, and an already stripped and bare room.  It felt cold and strange and I cried in the chapel.  It was hardly a surprise, she was 99 after all.  But the end happened quickly and we were told a few days, maybe a week.  Turns out it was a few hours.  I should've just gotten up during the many times I had been awake anyway during the night and gone.  But I waited until the morning and left first thing, the main entrance of the building still locked when I arrived.  But still I missed it.  Her body was already gone.  She had been alone.

I've gotten so much comfort that two of my sisters were there the night before.  They prayed the Chaplet and blessed her with holy water and we think there was a priest in at some point to her but only certain people can be told such things, apparently.  Her soul was my first concern, my heart and mind heavy with the knowledge of just how important those last moments are.  Those first tears flowed not necessarily with personal sadness but with the natural emotional reality of death and a Christian concern for her eternity.

Several times since that day I've completely forgotten that it's happened.

We weren't close.  There was never much of an effort on either side, to be honest.  I visited and brought gifts and sent cards but it wasn't like the grandmotherly relationships I hear others talk about and cannot understand.  She didn't really want that, at least so it seemed.  I liked her bluntness and her sharpness, in a way.  I could see there was more, there must've been anyway, but that was not a part that was going to be shared no matter what I asked.  After visits I would try to brainstorm if there were any possible ways we could bring her to live with us.  During softer moments I got a tiny little glimpse of the woman she was and I liked her.  She made me laugh sometimes.  It distracted from what was missing and made it easier to pretend it didn't matter.  

And yet I find myself crying again.
I don't feel it in my heart or mind but somehow when I speak on it, the tears flow and I realize - surprised - that something hurts.  The realization of an emptiness, a void that one didn't even know existed, an unfulfilled longing to be a somebody to the other.  Tears shed for what never was and grief for generations of disorder and wounds inflicted and scabbed into scars.  Perhaps there is a type of grief that stings not over the loss of a relationship but over the one that never was there to begin with.  A subconscious emotional release that recognizes what was not.

Here's hoping it's all made up and redeemed in eternity.  He can do that, too, I think.
For now, Grandma, I pray you rest.


(If you could say a prayer for the soul of my grandmother, I'd appreciate it and I'm sure she would as well.  Thank you!)



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23 comments:

  1. I will pray for your Grandmother. I lost mine when she was just shy of 99 yrs old. I was in another country, newly married and I missed her greatly. She grew up in a completely different world to mine and many times I have thought about her as I raise my own children. It's good to cry and to experience the emotions and questions and what ifs because it is all part of fully experiencing our humanity. It can bring about good changes in our lives too if they are needed. Hugs and prayers coming.

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  2. Prayers for your grandmother and for you, and your family.

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  3. Oh Mary{{}}
    Yes the lost opportunities are hard, particularly when we want a deeper relationship and the other didn't necessarily.
    Grieve dear friend, praying for you, your family and your grandmother xxx

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  4. My grandpa died last year and it was a very similar grief - no close relationship between us, and I mourned for what we never had as well as his passing. Prayers for you Mary; it's a hard realization to come to terms with those relationships that just aren't quite what they could be/should be.

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    1. I'm so glad other people get it. I just asked my husband last night if there was something wrong with me for seeming to feel things like this so much deeper than others seem to. Thank you!

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  5. Praying for the whole family...

    this is so beautifully written...I appreciate your transparency.

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    1. Thanks, Jill <3 Wish you guys could be here, too!

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  6. May she rest in peace. I really love your words about this and I can relate. Prayers!

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  7. Prayers are being said! I wanted to comment because you put into words a similar feeling I had in 2008 when I lost a Grandmother like the one you describe. She never tried too hard to be a Grandmother (nor a Mother for that matter) and kept herself apart somehow. Let's hope both of these ladies can now be at rest. Thank you for your blog post.

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  8. I will pray for you both. I'm so sorry.

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  9. Praying for you. My aunt is dying right now in another country. I've met her a couple times, been told I'm like her because we're spunky, and I know if we had lived closer, there would've been a bond. She is my dad's last sibling out of eight. I feel foolish crying, but your words express it perfectly. Thank you

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    1. I'm so sorry! I'll say a pray that she has a holy peaceful death. Thank you for the prayers.

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  10. You have expressed perfectly what many families experience, including my own. This was so honestly beautiful.

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