Wednesday, June 15, 2016

A Few Days

When we got home I found a place for some of the old things of hers that I saved, just like I had the other times.

The marble bookends are functional – I won’t have to buy a set now – and went right on the shelf to hold back the heaviest rows of books. The chipped ceramic fruit sculpture is too tall to fit on top of my kitchen cupboards, but it can sit on the counter for a while. The painting – just a print, but it’s framed – that space on the wall is just the right size.

I put the photo album containing pictures of her on the floor next to the bins of old photos that I haven’t yet found a place to store. So many hands had turned the pages of that photo album over two days, so many memories and stories and questions prompted by those old pictures.

I need a few days before tackling the project of putting those eighty-some photos back in their original albums. I’m not ready yet.

It’s already been a few days.

A few days since my mom called and said “Grandma died last night.” A few days since I kissed my thirteen year old on the cheek and said it’s okay, you don’t have to go to the funeral, Grandma would have wanted you to have fun with your friends. A few days since watching my fifteen year old act as pallbearer for the first time. A few days since being thrust into the world of my childhood again, of seeing old friends and relatives and introducing my family to people who knew me when I was little and who don’t know my kids who aren’t little anymore.

A few days since trying to tell a roomful of people through a shaking voice everything that a Grandmother’s life means.

The book of photos sits on the floor in my office next to the piles of rifled-through picture albums, little post-its sticking out where the photos of her belong. I’ve been here before. This is the third time I’ve done this and the third time I’ve written this post in just under three years.

I’m not ready to put the pictures back yet.

Loss is hard to bounce back from, even if it’s expected, even if it’s a blessing like we all say, only half trying to convince ourselves. Being left is always harder than leaving. I think if we had the choice we’d keep the ones we love the most close forever.

My last Grandma was buried last week, joining the others of that generation on my side of the family who lived this life and have gone on to the next. Bittersweet, sad, and real – the death of a loved one and the ensuing events of funeral, burial, and memorial serve to heal and cleanse as tears are shed, acquaintances regenerated, memories recalled, and life goes on. The time comes quickly, and blessedly ends just as fast, leaving us each with different tasks of wrapping up, cleaning out, and putting into place. It takes time.

Way more than a few days.


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12 comments:

  1. Love to you, Andrea. Your beautiful words serve her memory well. xo

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    1. Thank you so much, Elaine. I so appreciate it. xo

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  2. OH, my heart. I am so sorry. When I lost my only grandmother, I couldn't bear the heart ache. Peace and love to you. And this tribute, how she is delighting in it right now, Andrea.

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    1. Thank you so much. I appreciate your words and your heart. xo

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  3. I am so sorry.
    I lost my grandmother, the only grandparent I had ever known, when I was two months pregnant with my youngest daughter.
    She is named after her.
    Sending you love.

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    1. Thank you Kari. I'm sorry about your Grandma, too. xo

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  4. Love you, friend. I'm thinking about you, and yes, take all the days you need.

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    1. Thank you, Angela. I think about you often, too. It's nice to know that our friends care, like we are carrying each other during the hard times. xoxo

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  5. What a poignant post. I'm so sorry to hear about your Grandma. Your last one. I was looking at a photograph with my dad recently of his nine aunts and uncles (all from one family), and after he reminisced about a few of them, he says, "wow, that entire generation [of his family] is gone now." It was a realization that hit him hard, and me too, even though I really never knew any of them well. The passing of time and fragility of life is just something too big almost to wrap our brains around isn't it? Andrea, I didn't even know you had 2 blogs! I truly enjoy your writing and am going to make a point of stopping by here more often. You write on topics I think about a lot, too

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    1. Thank you for visiting me here, Julie! That same realization has hit my parents hard, too. We look at old pictures and marvel that all those faces of the people we knew so well are now gone. It's still hard even though we all know that this life is not forever. xo

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  6. Love to you, Andrea. It's been over a year since I lost my last grandma, and I still find myself getting choked up at the strangest of times. Xoxo

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    1. Thanks, Leigh Ann. It's never easy to lose a loved one. It helps to have friends who understand our loss. xo

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