I was reeling from the loss of not only my mother but also both of my grandparents. They were my mother’s parents and we were very close. Although I thought I was prepared for their deaths, I had no idea how much it would shake me. All 3 of them had been on hospice. Although it was less than 2 weeks for my mom and grandfather, my grandmother was on hospice for 10 months. The grief was the same yet different for all 3.
When my mother passed away, I took on more of the responsibility of taking care of my grandparents. I remember being asked just a few days after she died if I had taken the time to mourn the loss of my mother.
I wanted to scream, “Are you kidding me??”
Of course I hadn’t taken the time.
I had responsibilities – a funeral to plan, arrangements to make, friends and family to notify, and all the other things on top of making sure my grandparents were okay both physically and emotionally. Losing their child would take a huge toll on them, and I wanted to help them in every way possible.
Over the next year, I tried so many times to go through her belongings. Often I would walk in the room and I could feel the energy just drain out of me. I couldn’t even start. I had to leave the room. Although it frustrated me, I gave myself permission to just leave it until I could try again. I found that I could easily get rid of some things but others I just wasn’t ready to part with, so they stayed. Later, I was able to go through it again and get rid of a few more things.
Yes, it would have been nice to do it all at one time but that’s just not how my mind and heart let me do it and that’s okay. One thing I was able to do fairly soon after her death was to turn my mother’s nursing cape into a bear to hold. I find great comfort in holding it knowing how hard she worked to earn that cape and how much it meant to her.
When Papa died, my grandfather, I thought I would be better prepared. I had lost Mom just a few years earlier so this one shouldn’t hit as hard I figured.
I was wrong.
t hurt just as much, if not more.
Now 2 of the people who were incredibly important to me were gone. I had even less time to grieve his death since my grandmother was also on hospice and now she had just lost the love of her life. This was going to devastate her. I needed to be strong for her and help her through the pain. I was able to take time to make a memory pillow from one of his shirts. I still love holding that pillow as I can picture him wearing that shirt and feel him with me.
10 months after Papa died, Grami joined him in Heaven. I honestly never thought she would survive that long without him. They had been married 71 years and hadn’t been apart that long since WWII. Although I was happy she was now at peace and back together with Mom and Papa, I was emotionally and physically exhausted.
All 3 of them were gone.
The people that had raised me were gone.
I still had a loving husband and wonderful children but a huge part of my life was gone.
Even though I knew they loved me, I felt empty and alone. I thought I would never smile or laugh again. I’m not sure why but I couldn’t bring myself to have anything made from Grami’s clothing. I think it was because I was just numb at that point and already had something of hers that I could hold on to. Instead, I made a special ornament to hang on our tree that reminded me of her. Somehow that seemed more fitting to honor her.
As I was grieving the loss of all 3 of them, my uncle passed away. Yet another blow. It seemed like it would never end. How was I supposed to go on and live a normal life?
It’s been 8 years now since my mom passed away and although I still miss her, I don’t have the overwhelming, heartbreaking sadness consuming me. I can smile, laugh, and enjoy life. There are still times that a memory will flood over me and cause tears, but those times are significantly less frequent. Having those memory items to hold still brings me comfort and I am so grateful I have them.
Nothing takes the pain away after the death of a loved one, yet a gift-able hug can ease the heartache. I am so glad I have my memory items to hug and would be honored to help provide comfort to you with something special celebrating the life of your loved one.
Anne from Kidderbug Kreations