Grief Comes In Waves

This year I lost three people. One of those people I was very close with. She has a place in my heart that will never be filled by anyone else.

Losing My Grandparents

This year I lost 3 of my 4 grandparents. The other grandparent died before I was born. I didn’t expect to lose all three of my living grandparents in the same year. It was a tough year for me and my family. My parents lost their parents. I cannot even imagine that feeling. You are never ready to not have your parents. My heart aches for those who already have.

Both my mom’s parents died within 6 months of each other. I loved both of them and have memories that I hold dear to my heart. However, when they passed away, I was focused on supporting my mom through her grieving. I knew her pain was greater than mine and being there for her was a comfort to me.

Losing Bama

My dad’s dad passed away when he was only 17. I never knew him, but I was very close to my dad’s mom. I called her Bama. We spent a lot of time together when I was growing up. She made me feel like the most special person in the world. We had a relationship I hope everyone experiences at least once in their life. It was truly unconditional love.

Recitals, concerts, gymnastics events, volleyball games, you name it; Bama was always there, flowers in hand ready to hug me and tell me I did the best out of everyone. By the time I was learning to drive, Bama had her Chrysler Convertible. She and I would go on joy rides around town and she would have the biggest smile on her face. Despite the fact, I am sure she was fearing for her life letting her 15-year-old granddaughter drive. Sometimes when my mom was out of town for work, I would stay with Bama. She would get up before 7 am and drive me to school. These are the things that made me know my Bama loved me. We would text back and forth all the time and I thought it was so awesome she had facebook, which she went on regularly and commented on all my pictures.

When I moved to CA she made sure to come out and visit me each year. Arya was born in February last year and Bama was out to see us just weeks after she was born. “My baby had a baby!” She said to me.

Our Last Moments Together

I was lucky enough to spend May to December in Minnesota this last year. God has a way of working things out and blessed me with 8 extra months of time with Bama. He knew how much I needed it. Being able to get every extra minute with Bama is a blessing I will cherish the rest of my life.

A few days before leaving for CA, my Aunt let me know Bama had a rough day. She didn’t have much time left. When I arrived she was awake and said, “I was wondering if I was going to see you this week.” I told her I would never miss a chance to see her. I asked her questions, but it seemed like she had fallen asleep. I teared up as I told her I loved her and I was going to miss her so much when I went back to CA. I told her I think about her every day and miss her. I told her not to forget me. Suddenly her eyes opened and she looked at me in what seemed like a moment of clarity. She told me she loved me too and could never forget me because I’m her baby.

Our last moments together, I will hold in my heart forever. She has touched my heart in a way no one else has or ever could. She will always be my favorite and I will always be her baby.

I sometimes feel guilty because of my grief for Bama. I wanted to be there for my dad, the way I was for my mom when she lost her parents. I wanted to feel better by supporting my dad through his grieving. I know his pain is still greater than mine. My hope is my dad doesn’t think I am not there for him, even though losing Bama has hit me hard too.

Since Bama has passed away, I have felt my grief come in waves. She lived to be 87 years old and lived a full life. I am so blessed to have countless memories with her over the last 26 years. My heart stings when I am reminded of her, which is every day. The waves of grief come crashing down. I want to breathe in the memories and feel what I felt in the moments they actually happened. The flooding of memories overcomes me and sometimes all I can do is cry. The tears are from missing her. The tears are from feeling so blessed to have known her. The tears are from having the love I do for her, even though she is no longer here.

 

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