I didn’t want to write about this for a long while because I simply wasn’t ready to. I still don’t think I’m ready to write about it. I still think I am struggling to process a lot of grief and anger. But I think there’s an element about my grandmother’s passing that I’m ready to visit and, hopefully, to unload.
Lots of grandmother’s like children. Mine adored them. She lived for them.
Like a lot of post-WW2 women she was a homemaker, and it was a life she had always wanted. My grandmother wanted to be a mother. She craved it.
On April 10 2015 she passed away from cancer. Her death was long and painful. Beforehand she spent several months in a nursing home and gradually, week after week the woman I knew slipped away.
Our family gathered the night she passed. I was supposed to go to a Counting Crows concert. We held her hand as she received her Last rights. I stood stoic as her halted breathing got worse and worse. Her pupils became dilated.
They told us the last thing to go when someone is dying is their hearing so we kept talking, telling her we loved her, telling her we would see her soon.
I vowed to name my daughter after her. ‘Helen will be her second name’ I told her. A tear fell from her eye. She heard me. She knew. That was enough.
She’s now been gone for nearly three years and yet I still feel she will come back. I still feel as though she’s here, somewhere.
In 2016 my daughter was born. We found out I was pregnant just five months after my grandmother’s death. It was bittersweet.
Throughout my daughter’s life there is one person who I believe deserved to meet her more than anyone – my grandmother.
It angers me that we have family members who make no effort to see my daughter. Family members who never buy her anything. Family members who are oblivious to how blessed they are to have to opportunity to spend time with her. I hate it. It shouldn’t be them – the time they do get with her should have been afforded to my grandmother.
Do I sound angry? I am. I wrote this post in a fit of fury. The resentment had found a place to nest in my soul and was beginning to make my heart ache. And anyway, if I’m already thinking this way then why should’t I write about it?
Some nights I try to reconcile with God/The Universe and whisper into the blackness ‘but why? why why why?’ other nights I spit out my frustration into the air. ‘How could you’, I mumble through gritted teeth, ‘how could you’.
My grandmother dedicated her life to God. She never missed a church service, even when she could barely walk she still walked to church no matter how long it took her. One hour, two hours. Every Sunday without fail.
She would also pray for an hour every morning. For me, for my mother, for the entire family.
I pray to see her. I pray to experience a moment between my grandmother and my daughter where somehow I know or can feel that she has visited her. That hasn’t happened.
That’s it, really. I wish I had some nice epiphany to end the post with… but I don’t. It’s just sadness. Overwhelming sadness.
Maybe I’m an asshole for writing this. Maybe I’m just being honest and trying to find a way to cope. I don’t know. I really, really don’t know.