Thursday, July 26, 2012

Death Week

I am in the midst of one of the toughest grieving weeks of the year for me. Last week it began with my wedding anniversary with Jeremy. Then, Friday I received the news that my Grandma Wanda passed away due to some complications after a surgery. Devastating. Today (Wednesday) is her birthday, and also the death anniversary of my brother, Brian. This week my mom will have her birthday as well. Needless to say, it's been a rough week.

One of my favorite memories of my Grandma Wanda took place while preparing for my brother's graduation party. Jeremy and I were down in the basement with Brian, putting together a decorated box to collect all the cards for the day. Upstairs, my other very rude Grandmother started bickering about how I wasn't helping and how ungrateful I must be while my parents would be paying for our wedding (Jeremy and I were engaged). These accusations were of course ungrounded and false, but she just likes to have something to complain about. My 4-foot-something spitfire Grandma Wanda starts yelling from the basement sticking up for me and telling her to shut her mouth. And then began to tell Jeremy how much she liked him and not to worry about haters.

I share this story because it hit me suddenly yesterday while I was sharing it with Steve that 3 out of 4 people involved in that memory are dead.
Not here anymore.
How is that possible?!

It was too much for me to understand. It's just not right. And to top it all off, it's all flooding me in the same week, at the same time. Three precious lives that have meant so much to me in different ways no longer exist. Yesterday, I'm pretty sure I cried at the drop of a hat - all of it was weighing on me.

Today I had made plans to stay distracted. But what was really pulling on my heart was to face grief. I needed to spend the day with my parents and grieve this horrible day last year when I felt my brother die in my hands. I wanted them to know how much Brian was and is loved. I want them to know I'm still here, still hurting with them, still healing. So we cancelled our plans and headed to my hometown to my brother's grave. What a sight it was to see today:

So many people had already been there today. Notes, pictures, flowers, plants, keepsakes - everyone leaving pieces behind. We added to the bunch with letters from the kids, flowers and balloons.
It felt right to be there.

Inevitably, when I face grief, it all gets mixed together - I grieved for Brian, Jeremy, and Grandma Wanda today.
It was heavy, but necessary.

You'd think the more people you lose close to you, the better you'd get at figuring this stuff out. Turns out it doesn't work that way. It just sucks every time.

I'll be glad when the week is over.


  1. So very sorry for your loss of such a vibrant wonderful woman.
    It resonates - I lost my Mom, sister, brother and husband to cancer.
    every new grief brings in the old with it and makes it fresh again.
    I only hope - somewhere anywhere they are in each others beautiful company.
    hugs to you.

  2. I too am wondering about how much death can a person take within a short amount of time. My parents are aging so rapidly, in their mid 80's, it is really bothering me. I think maybe it is the anticipation of the grief to come that is getting to me. I try to just live "one day at a time" and just enjoy the moments I have with them now, but some days it hits how difficult it will be not to have them around me any more. It was so hard to lose my grandmother, and of course the "big one" of losing my husband. How much can we take? I guess a hell of a lot. Your post today sort of helped me get some of this out with some tears. Thank you.

  3. I love that you faced Grief in the face. It's something I've learned after losing my husband and then my parents. Once you face it, get up close and personal with it, don't let it have it's little mystery, I feel proud of myself. I've learned that Grief doesn't get to win. I do and my loved ones do. I feel like saying, "Bring it on; I can take you." Gives me power and strength. Took me a long time (six years since losing my husband to a sudden heart attack) to learn this difficult lesson. I'm happy you faced it, too. Hugs and love from a fellow widow...

  4. Fortunately for me, I have not been dealt nearly the blow that you have. I did lose my husband and then his father three months later. At my father-in-law's funeral, I realized that the only two people in the world who called me Sweetie were gone. That was a special bond that I had with each of them and now those ties are broken. My brother-in-law has taken over that role, but it's not the same.