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My Life After

Today or well yesterday I attended the memorial service for one of my best friends great-grandmothers. This lady was amazing and as long as I’ve know my friend I’ve known her.  She fed me,  listened to me, she prayed for me and my family. I cried, I cried when I saw her last right before she passed, I cried when I saw her at my friends baby shower. But for all the crying I did for her I couldn’t for my own grandmother. My grandmother passed away in May of last year. By this time I was 4 months pregnant and after how crappy the year had started with her health and recovery this was a really tough blow. But I didn’t want to make myself feel this pain of losing one of the closest people in my family. It felt sudden; my mom told me earlier that day that she was rushed to the hospital and they were checking her over but this was my grandmother I just knew they would find the problem fix it and I would be taking her to physical therapy in the next week or so but that wasn’t the case. When my mom called me it was one in the morning. I remember not hearing the phone at first and her calling right back. I already knew it wouldn’t be good and I hesitated to answer the phone. She told me my grandma wasn’t going to pull through this time. They’d done all they could do and she was passing away. I hung up the phone and burst into tears. I gave myself that moment and that was it. I got my daughter and myself dressed, called my best friends to let them know what was happening and drove to the hospital with my husband. When I got there the room was packed with family and friends, I could tell they’d all been crying. I looked at her, I watched the monitors and they showed her blood pressure slowly falling as well as her heart rate and I didn’t cry. I left before she passed and around 6AM I got the notification that she was gone. I took the day off from work and decided to help my mom locate all the necessary paperwork and help with the funeral arrangements.

I dare not break down as I walked in her room to look through her stuff. I lay in her bed, I sniffed her pillows and I pulled myself together to make the phone calls. At the funeral home while picking out her casket and everything that goes along with that I saw my aunt about to break down and stepped around her, why because if I watcher her breakdown I would have broke down and there would be no coming back. I had to be strong not just for my mom, aunt and uncle but for myself I still had 5 months to go in this pregnancy and being depressed would not help me. They probably thought I was heartless or just out of it but I was there holding it all in until I could let it out. I tried to make jokes to get us through the day. I wrote her obituary and picked out the pictures to be featured there and on her slide show. I allowed myself 5 minutes a day to cry my little eyes out, then fix myself and go back to getting shit done. We had her funeral a week later I teared up here and there but wouldn’t allow myself to get in to deep. I didn’t finally break down until Mid-August when I could no longer hold it in. I lay in bed all that day crying off and on and sleeping. The only person that knew was the same friend I mentioned above and even then I knew I wasn’t over it. I tried to go to see her at the cemetery but her headstone hadn’t been placed yet so I sat yelling at a little plastic placeholder asking her why she had to leave me. Why couldn’t she stay? I needed her. Kai would need her. I did this until it got too dark to see that stupid placeholder and bugs started biting. After giving birth to my son and naming him the only name she approved of before we even knew the sex I thought I was over it until today.

I did it again I just knew I had more time to say goodbye to this other lady and if I put it off she would keep on living. I made it to see her and say goodbye with maybe 30 minutes to spare. She was surrounded by the ones she loved and who loved her but upon entering her room I knew she was going soon. She made the same noises my grandma made, breathing the same and eyes open but not responsive.  It hit me so hard like I was re-living the same thing over and over again. I told her I loved her. I thanked her for all the years of prayers and advise she bestowed on someone who was not related by blood and told her it was ok, something I couldn’t tell my own grandmother because for her it wasn’t ok, she was supposed to be with me forever. I attended her memorial today and it broke me realizing yet another person I loved was gone. It hurt even more thinking about my own grandmother. She was the strongest person I knew, I was certain she would live forever. It made me realize even with my breakdown in August I never grieved like I should have and I am still holding onto her. When I think about her I hear her voice calling my name, tapping my arm in her  playful manner, kissing my daughter on the hand and loving my friends and their kids claiming them as her own grand and great-grandchildren. That was my grandma; loving, caring, polite, playful, rude, aggressive, strong, and my whole heart. She was my twin, she is what I feel I will be when  I get to her age. We were both left-handed, creative, and always looking for ways to better ourselves and our situation.

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to write about this because part of it isn’t my story to tell but I found myself restless thinking about two important women I’ve lost from my life. I found myself crying for a women I knew for 10+ years and a women I knew my entire life. I found myself searching through my voicemail for a message even 2 seconds long from my grandma just to hear her voice again. I found a video my mom sent me on Facebook messenger that my aunt took of her last year after her brain surgery where they attempted to remove the tumors and she lost the ability to speak or interact with us for days where she’d finally come out of that haze and was brushing her teeth and being her silly self again.  I don’t want to forget either one of them but I don’t want to be sad or angry anymore. J hope writing this out and admitting this to myself that I am able to find my own closure with it all. Cancer is a terrible disease no matter which course is taken.

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