On Sunday, February 16, 2014, one of the greatest women I know took her last breath on earth.
(I’m trying to figure out exactly how to write down exactly what I’m thinking, exactly what I’m feeling. But you see, I don’t really know…) I cried as soon as I received the news that my grandmother was on her death bed, and I cried about 28 hours later when I found out that she’d passed.
Right now I’m not crying. In fact, I’ve spent the past SEVERAL hours with a friend completely distracted from the fact that a woman I love is no longer alive. She’s gone. She’s dead. She’s not living anymore.
Maybe if I keep saying it over and over again, it will sink in?
But I don’t want it to sink in. I want to wake up tomorrow and not have to accept the fact that my grandmother died just hours prior. I want to wake up tomorrow and not want to vomit because I feel bad that I didn’t spend more time with her. I want to wake up tomorrow and not be reminded of how going to her house with all my cousins was one of my favorite things growing up. I want to ignore the fact that she made the BEST ham sandwiches I’ve ever tasted. (I don’t eat ham anymore, but when I did…those things were THE BOMB!) I want to turn off my emotions so I don’t have to feel the hurt anymore.
That’s the thing about pain, though…it demands to be felt. (Thank you, John Green for that one.)
My grandmother was what I like to consider a rockstar. She was a survivor. She was a champion.
(I hate that I have to use the past tense of is. “Is” implies that whatever you’re describing has not yet finished. “Was,” on the other hand, shows the completion of something, that something has finished–My grandmother’s life).
I was fortunate enough to see her about 2 months ago. It took her a bit to remember who I was and I had to speak louder than normal, but I loved every minute I spent with her. She kept telling me over and over again how much she appreciated that I had taken the time to visit her. It was the first time that I’d visited her alone. Usually I was accompanied by either my parents or extended family. But this time, it was just me and grandma; and it was great. I sat back while she ate her oatmeal and thought to myself, “Gosh, I love her. Soak this up, Jayna. Who knows how much longer you’ll have with her.” I didn’t realize that in 2 months my time would end.
Y’all, this is the woman that cracked jokes like it was her job. This is the woman that was the equivalent of prom queen in her community. This is the woman who had a husband that survived WWII, but lost him to Parkinson’s disease 12 years ago and continued to say, “tell the truth, shame the devil.” Her faith was courageous. Her strength was inspiring. Her love was breathtaking.
I HATE THAT SHE’S GONE.
The grieving process is so strange, awkward, and uncomfortable. I don’t fully understand it. For me, it comes in waves. Tonight has been full of laughter and that is exactly what I needed. It really is the best medicine. However, I can’t laugh forever. I know that at some point I’m going to have to finish crying. I don’t want to, but I need to. I hate crying, but it’s extremely therapeutic. It’s cleansing. I think it’s necessary. However, I wish it would just all come at once and I could get it over with…
On second thought, I don’t.
I consider it a privilege to cry over my grandmother. Crying over her means that with each tear comes a memory. I don’t have a ton of memories, but I do have several. And if crying means that I get to tangibly feel those memories again, then so be it.
Grandma, I’m so sorry that I couldn’t say goodbye. I told you I’d try to see you one more time before I went back to school, and I never did. I don’t think I told you enough how much you meant to me and I wish that I had. Dad wanted me to talk to you while you could still hear me, but I couldn’t do it. I’m sorry. It was too hard… He had to tell you for me…
The tears are flowing now and they won’t stop…
I’m thrilled that you the struggles and ails of this life aren’t an issue for you anymore. I’m excited that you’re reunited with Grandpa. I’m a little jealous that you get to stand before the Lord and look into His face and smile. Selfishly, I wish you were still here, but I know that you’re home now. There’s no better place for you to be. I was told that your passing was peaceful and painless, so that’s good. It still sucks, though…
Dad told me that you’d be proud of me singing. I’d forgotten that you used to do that. My notes are for you, Grandma. How beautiful to know that I can use a gift that the Lord has given me and that you both get to watch me use it.
I know you wouldn’t want me making a fuss. You’d call it nonsense and toss some wit, I’m sure. But it’s hard, Grandma…
I miss you, already.
I miss your laugh.
I miss the way you’d say, “what?” when you couldn’t hear us.
I miss how you’d beg for us to stay when we had to head home from vacation at your house.
I miss your perfume.
I miss going into your room and jumping on your bed.
I miss that high pitched tone you’d make when you got excited.
I miss the way you’d grind your teeth and how I’d always have to remind you to stop.
You lived a life full of accomplishments and I admire you for all that you are…
I’m proud to be your granddaughter. I’m so thankful for your life and the way that you lived it.
I feel like my words aren’t doing you justice, like they’re not enough. I find this kind of funny considering the fact that I’m usually able to communicate better by writing my thoughts… This one’s hard, though…
I don’t want to say RIP, because you’re not resting.
I have full confidence that you’re dancing and singing in the presence of our Savior with all ounces of joy!
I love you, Grandma. I’ll see you later. Save me a dance, k?
[Jesus, help my heart…it hurts.
Hold me while I grieve, Father.
I don’t know what this is going to look like…
Thank you for my grandma’s salvation…
There’s beauty in this, I know. May I see that?