No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning. I keep on swallowing. At other times it feels like being mildly drunk, or concussed. There is a sort of invisible blanket between the world and me. I find it hard to take in what anyone says. Or perhaps, hard to want to take it in. It is so uninteresting. Yet I want the others to be about me. I dread the moments when the house is empty. If only they would talk to one another and not to me.C.S. Lewis | A Grief Observed
A Grieving Heart.
A few weeks ago, I got a phone call that changed my life, broke my heart and left me in shock – all in the matter of a moment. My grandpa had been found dead in his house that morning.
I keep wanting to change the wording of that last sentence… the word “dead” sounds too harsh, too cold… too real. But, that is what happened. He was here, and then, he was gone. I still can’t wrap my head around it. It doesn’t feel real, I’m not sure it ever will. His death was completely unexpected and for me, that just makes it all the more complicated to process. The past few weeks have been challenging, it’s been hard to face each day.
Grief feels like fog… it feels like my ankles are stuck in the mud and I’m just surrounded by fog, unable to see my way out. Daily life seems unimportant when you lose someone you love. Loss puts life into perspective. All the trivial *shit* that dictates our day-to-day displays itself as what it is: trivial, insignificant, meaningless. There is an overwelming emptiness that lingers…
What once was…
That same emptiness is engulfed in a flood of memories. Happy memories. Sad memories. And everything in between. It’s like when you see a life lost so quickly, your own life seems to flash before your eyes. Grief feels a bit like loneliness. Like hopelessness. Like being lost. A desperate want for what once was. I wish to be a kid again, painting with my grandpa in their basement… the putrid smell of the chemical-filled paint, spreading the colors across the canvas, smiling from ear to ear. Learning new songs on the piano for my grandma. Letting her smile fill my heart with the love of universe. Letting my grandpa sneak my sister & I sugar when my grandma wasn’t looking. All of the simple yet beautiful little things that fill my heart with joy – and now longing.
Nothing matters to me right now but living those moments in my memory – over and over again. The innocence of childhood. Maybe that is what I miss right now. The innocence, the purity, the sense of wholeness, being surrounded by deep love. Death seems to be the opposite of those things.
It’s so odd. My heart feels like it’s been shattered into pieces but at the same time, I feel whole. I’ve felt the Holy Spirit more intensely in the past few weeks than I have in a while. I’ve felt a pull to fill myself up with the things that matter – spiritual truth, the arts, & self expression – the very things that remind me of life.
My body feels like a river. A river with a stone wedged into the middle of it. I feel the need to let it go, to free the stone… but I can’t. I feel the need to cry, but I’m out of tears for today. So all I feel at the moment is stuck. I find myself struggling to breathe… holding my breath. The need to remind myself to take a deep breath… reminding myself how to breathe, how to survive, how to be human… how to live.
My Grandma & My Grandpa
My grandma, my grandpa’s wife, passed away 2.5 years ago (to the day) that my grandpa passed. It was also the day that marks 11 years since my grandma had been diagnosed with Ovarian cancer. Losing my grandma was gradual. It’s weird to say, but, losing her didn’t hurt as much. It’s almost like we had time to prepare for her passing. She would go into remission and then relapse over-and-over again. There was always hope that she would get better again – until their wasn’t. My grandma was placed into hospice care in her home and we were able to spend her last days together as a family. We had the time & space to say goodbye, to reaffirm our love for one another, to prepare ourselves for the process of greiving.
My grandpa’s death was the complete opposite. Sudden. Unexpected. Out of no where, with no time to say goodbye. Death took him before any of us could even process it. Losing my grandpa was brutual. It was traumatizing. It was heartbreaking in every way.
Oddly enough, the death of my grandpa forced me to come to terms with the grief of my grandma’s death: the things I hadn’t processed, the emotions I had buried away, the overwhelming sadness I still felt. For me, my grandparents symoblized my childhood – some of the happiest years of my life. My grandma & grandpa had so much love for one another and they kindly shared some of that love with me. I will be forever grateful to have grown up so close to my grandparents. Their love is always with me.
I also know that when my grandma passed, my grandpa was heartbroken. He was lost. My grandma was his rock. I can’t help but think that maybe his broken heart was part of the reason he passed so suddenly. He missed my grandma with all his being. I’ve always admired their relationship and only recently have I realized how rare it is to find and keep a love like the one they held together. I mean, they both said the only way they were leaving the house that they had shared together for decades was feet first. And… they did. They died 10 feet apart from one another, 2.5 years between them, their bodies leaving their house feet first.
As much as my heart aches of loss, the Holy Spirit has planted an overwhelming sense of peace in my heart. My grandma and grandpa are together once again. Not only are they together, but, my grandma is no longer sick, and my grandpa is no longer heartbroken. They are fully healed, they are fully surrounded by a love none of us on Earth have yet experienced, but above all they are at peace.
I love you grandma & grandpa – to the moon & back – forever & always. I miss you both so much, I’ll see you both again very soon <3
Peace & love. – Kendall