Feeling and Filling Emptiness my Grandmother Left

It’s been exactly a month since my grandmother was laid to rest.

I’m sitting here thinking to myself I’m really about to write about this. To write about death. I can’t quite write about it, but on loss I can. I obviously couldn’t immediately after she passed away on September 6 a beautiful fall day when she went in peace and we were left in painful emptiness. There was so much going on with planning, repatriation, travel, planning and the burial. Immediately after the burial may have been a good time, but again the overwhelming and surprising calm that washed over me from how beautiful the funeral was. I’d never been to a funeral before, but we did that woman justice. She was a perfectionist who cared about the quality of anything she did where people were gathered. They would eat and be merry. They ate, mourned and were comforted by the familiarity of hospitality they always associated with her. There is so much that can be said, yet I find myself not having the strength, confidence, sanity to write and talk about it. There is nothing that I can say or write that fully expresses what it is to lose the person who celebrated and rejoiced your being down to the last minute. The person you yourself knew your presence and existence meant the world to. The person whose love you felt unconditionally no matter or where or when. You knew your absence affected her and your knowingly lame joke bubbled up her spirit. The person you unclicheingly never imagined not existing. In all my imperfections I was perfect. I was Pumpkin. She loved me as I am and wanted the best, enjoyment of life and great grandchildren [eventually hopefully soon] from me. She cared that I’d eaten and knew my favorite piece of chicken and that I preferred the seed of the mango, asked about my friends because she knew them one by one, made a mean omelette in which you could taste the joy she made it with in the tomatoes and freshly grated cheese. Gone.

Every time I’m asked about it the easy answer is that I’m ok, but the lump in my throat and that tear I can blink back way inside the duct reminds I’m not. What I’m working on is remembering then knowing that it’s ok not to be ok. How do I get to OK? How long does it take? Will I be ok if I don’t get there? How can I know in advance? I can’t.

What I have been doing in the meantime is living in a way she did and would be watching down on me wanting me to. With joy and a seriousness about la joie de vivre. Admiring me for my love of my little cousins and taking the role of being a big sister to them seriously. Being a loving daughter to my mother. Enjoying as many laughs as possible with my grandfather. Having good times with my friends. And in ALL of that – making sure to LOOK GOOD. She was the embodiment of look good feel good feel good look good. I’ll start with those things and know they’ll always work. They always did, but without her here there is an emptiness about it.

Writing. WRITING! Writing about it. Hitting PUBLISH will make me feel better because had she been here and I showed her this extremely emotional post through tears running down my face she would have been soooo impressed. So touched that outside of knowing how much I love her already, that it made me feel better writing it. I would have felt better not having to write it, but I have to start somewhere right?!

Writing it is.

P.S. Today is a month since she was buried. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Tomorrow is my mother, her daughter’s, birthday. It is also she and I’s birthday month.



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