I always knew the day would come that I wouldn’t have my grandmother, Sugar, anymore. My whole life (that I can remember my memories) I grieved her death while she was living. For as long as I can remember, I would cry multiple times a month at night. Sometimes it was before bed, to her face, etc. anticipating her death. You see, I knew how special Sugar was, and I knew how special I was to her. She would tell me. She’s told me my entire life that her whole life purpose was to take care of me. To protect me.
She took me to my first concert (It was Reba with Brooks and Dunn 1997, and she bought me a big red bouquet of roses to throw on the stage), bought me my first Barbie (we have an extensive collection together), took me to my first makeup appointment at Merle Norman, bought me my first car, brought me my first bouquet of roses at my first dance recital, bought me my first North Face and Carhartt jacket (both of these were HUGE trends at my school LOL). When I started dance, she and my Poppa would drive thirty-five minutes each way to sit at my dance class and watch me for an hour twice a week. She never missed a dance recital, softball game, or a football game that I was a cheerleader. She was my biggest cheerleader. She taught me how to make monkey bread, pecan pies, and the importance of lipstick. She taught me to embroidery. She taught me to never leave the house with dirty underwear on because if you get in a wreck, and they have to cut your pants off, then you want clean underwear on!! She taught me that if you don’t croak for your own pond- then no one else will. She taught me to Be Pretty, Act Pretty, and Look Pretty. I can hear her voice telling me that we should all leave the world in a better place than we found it. Her home represented safety and security in my life. She represented safety and security in my life.
I’ve been grieving this loss for years. Somehow, I thought I would be prepared- or more prepared. It hurts all the same. I wake up every day with the realization that I can never call her again. I can never hear her voice again. I can never hold her hand again. I can never paint her toenails or bring her new lipstick. I can never wrap my arms around her again.
I have a daily realization that this isn’t temporary. I won’t wake up in a year or five and be able to see her again. Realizing that this loss (and the one of my Poppa who is her husband of 70 years and is still living) are both things that I will have to live with every day for the rest of my life. I can’t wrap my mind around that amount of loss, but somehow, it’s a natural process that we all have to go through and live with. It’s a constant internal struggle of me telling myself that I am to be thankful for the time that I’ve had with her, and that this is part of life, but also the painful realization that I will mourn this loss for as long as I live.
For the first month after her death, I went along with life as usual. I even told a friend how surprised I was with how well I was doing. Month two has been completely devastating. I cry multiple times a day, and I have no idea what to do or how to get through this pain. I tell myself that life has to go on, the world doesn’t stop spinning, etc… I’ve found experiencing grief is weird. It’s weird that it’s something we all endure, but nobody really talks about it. That we are expected to just function 100% and be productive a few days to a week later. That (somehow?) all of the people and things we have in our life are supposed to outweigh the loss we just experienced. Then, the guilt of being sad sets in because of said people and things in life we are supposed to be thankful for that (somehow?) makes the pain less. The only thing I do know is that life does in fact keep going. Nothing nor no one stops for your grief. I’ve learned through this experience that only I can give myself the love, stability, and comfort that she gave me to me. To mirror all of what she represented to me– back to myself.
For now, I’ll be holding tight to Heath and Jenkins, and navigating my way through this new reality.