Wishing You Were Here
This is the first big holiday without my grandma and my husband’s grandma. This year we have had a lot of loss in our family. Three of my grandparents passed away within weeks of each other and my husband’s grandma passed a few months after. I am having a more difficult time coping as the Holidays are approaching. Why am I feeling like I am losing them all over again? Why does it feel harder now then when they first past away? A client of mine recently told me that there is no right or wrong way to grieve.
Being with my grandma was my safe place. She made the world a better place by simply being in it. She made me a better person. She was what made Christmas so special to me. Growing up as a child I remember helping her decorate her house for the holidays. The stockings that my grandma made hung up along the fire place mantel. My family spent every Christmas Eve with my grandparents. The entire family would gather together, play games, eat a big feast, sing Christmas Carols, and Santa would come and visit. As a child it was magical. I asked her once how she made it look so easy? She told me many years of practice.
The heart and soul of our family has gone. As we try and find our way I can’t help but feel lost without her here. Time is passing, we are all getting older, and things are changing. Change is the hardest part. It has been so many years since I spent an actual Christmas with my grandma, but knowing she was still here gave me a sense of peace. The holidays are the hardest part. I was not prepared for how it would effect me. I feel her loss more deeply now then when she first passed. I would give anything to spend one more day with her. I wish I could walk through her door and see her in her Christmas apron cooking in the kitchen. I long to give her one more hug. I want to hear her voice telling me, “I love you Kid!”
Lately, I feel her all around me. I am reminded of her all of the time. There is not a day that goes that I don’t think about her. I know I am not alone in feeling her loss. My entire family is effected by her absence. I hold onto what is most important and that is our family. My family isn’t perfect and what family is? Lord knows I am not without my faults and my family loves me still. My grandma left big shoes to fill and no one can ever compare, but we will continue on to a new chapter and continue to love one another…. quirks and all.
And if that weren’t bad enough, Gary’s grandma passed away shortly after my grandma. The first time I met Gary’s grandma it was at a Cort Family Christmas Party. I remember that day so vividly because I was pregnant, unwed, and hadn’t been with Gary very long. Too say I was a nervous wreck was an understatement. I was introduced to her by my Mother-In-Law and she said hello and gave me a hug. I felt an instant connection with her. Over the years I have grown closer to her and she holds a special place in my heart.
I loved to spend time with her. I especially enjoyed our chats. She gave me a lot of helpful advice over the years. I would tell her my struggles as a mom and she always had a story to share that made me feel that everything would be okay. We had a lot in common; we both worked at a bank, we loved to take photos of our family. She even told me that if anyone didn’t want to take photos that I was to tell them that Grandma said they had to. We loved cooking for our family. We shared the same joy for Christmas, especially baking Christmas cookies and banana bread. After having Jaxon I would visit her often. I would take the boys to see her or visit her by myself. She had recently moved closer to us and we took every opportunity to see her. I would pick her up and take her to run errands. She always had to stop and pick up a lotto ticket. After moving closer she was able to spend holidays with us and it was incredibly special because we were able to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas morning with her. I asked her what was her favorite thing to eat for breakfast and she said blueberry pancakes so I made her blueberry pancakes from scratch and she LOVED them!!! It will now be a tradition that every Christmas morning we will make blueberry pancakes in honor of her.
Last year when I was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa. I called her on the phone to tell her the news. She listened as I told her my sob story and she replied, “You will get through this with the love and support of family. It’s okay to cry and get it out. Pick yourself up and keep going.” She had her fair share of health issues and she didn’t let it stop her. She told you what you needed to hear and she would say it in the most loving way possible.
One of the best compliments Gary’s grandma gave me was telling me that I reminded her of herself. I am pretty sure that was the best compliment anyone has ever given me. My husband and I went to visit her before she passed away. I held her hand and she told us, “Family is everything. We stick together and love one another no matter what. Love your children and love each other!” That conversation with her will stay with me forever. I kept a voicemail from her and every so often I listen to it just to hear the sound of her voice. She is the voice in my head… my voice of reason. Sometimes I get frustrated with family and I hear her telling me to just keep loving them.
The holidays are a time for bringing family together, reminisce about the old days, celebrate traditions, and create new ones. My love for Thanksgiving & Christmas is because of these two remarkable woman. I am putting on a brave face for my boys and my family even though my heart is broken and hurting. I will push through the best way I know how…… by holding onto the memories I have with them and remembering what they have taught me. I know they are watching over us all, cheering us on, as we continue our journey in life.