I don’t even know where to start. 6 days ago I received a call at work from my Dad. I hit ignore and sent a text, since we were in the middle of a meeting. He replied with “Sit down”, and I excused myself to return his call.
My Granny died unexpectedly. I don’t feel like going into details, but basically she had cataract surgery the week before. When my Dad drove to her house to pick her up for the other eye appointment, she was gone. I cried hysterically on the porch when I received the news. Oddly enough, my coworker sent an email out that morning stating her grandmother had passed in the middle of the night. I responded with, “I am so sorry. I am here if you need anything at all”, and I meant it, but I didn’t feel. Little did I know, three hours later I would receive the same news. I went from being sympathetic to empathic in a matter of moments. My world came crashing down, and now I’m picking up the pieces.
By sheer coincidence, my friend Matthew arrived to Denver Thursday evening for his weekend vacation. This was a good and a bad thing. On the one hand, I appreciated being distracted. On the other, I had no energy to do anything. It was all I could do to hold it together.
At one point, we encountered an especially rude bartender, to which Matthew explained, “She’s probably just having a bad day”. This infuriated me, considering I received the news of my Granny’s death the day before, and you didn’t see me acting like that. So before we left, I ripped up my rose and watched the pedals fall to the bathroom floor. I justified this shitty behavior by convincing myself my Granny would’ve thought it was funny.
In the back of my mind in recent years, I’ve known how lucky I am to have not lost anyone I’m close to. And now here I am, crying on and off, trying to type in disbelief. I took yesterday and today off work and dread returning tomorrow. On top of everything else, my favorite boss and quite possibly the best supervisor I’ve ever had is resigning in two weeks. I also started getting sick on Sunday, so that’s fun, too.
All that’s to say, I’m writing this off the top of my head, and I don’t plan to edit much like I normally do. I’m writing to commemorate and memorialize my Granny whom I still can’t believe is gone. This marks the first loss of someone I was once very close to, and being out-of-state makes it that much more difficult. I feel so bad that I can’t be there for my dad, uncle, aunt, mom and everyone else. I feel like these last several days have been a dream, and even writing this post feels muddled and contrived compared to what I feel in my heart.
I know my Granny was proud of me, and she was one of my biggest cheerleaders. I’m gonna miss having that support, having someone to talk to about gardening and having someone to share my excitement with. Facebook memories have been especially painful since she liked and commented on nearly everything I posted. All I can do is take it day by day. I don’t think about yesterday or tomorrow; I think about today and what I need to do to survive. Try to eat. Shower. Brush my teeth. Sleeping is easy, because I don’t want to face reality. It’s the staying awake and confronting my responsibilities that I’m struggling with.
I prefer to listen to shitty music on the radio, because it doesn’t trigger my crying like the playlists I’ve saved on Spotify. So far Fleetwood Mac, Sufjan Stevens and Oren Lavie have struck a sad chord.
Thursday and yesterday (Monday) were definitely the worst. My Granny’s death hit me like a ton of bricks yesterday after Matthew left. I sobbed in the bathtub for 30 minutes as I scrolled through grief and loss quotes online, searching for anything to relate to, anything that could accurately describe how I feel. Luckily our pets are amazing. Junip hopped on the bathtub ledge, insisting I pet her as she purred profusely.
As if I didn’t know as a Clinical Mental Health Counselor, the grief comes and goes in waves. But until you experience it first hand, it’s impossible to relate. It’s like being homesick times 10. The irony lies in changing my Instagram description two days before she died to “The best you can is good enough”, and feeling like I’m barely hanging in there. My untimely Radiohead homage serves as a reminder to not give up.
Speaking of Instagram, someone encouraged me to “listen to the whispers”, which had me breaking down. But that’s exactly what I’ve been doing: Relying on my gut and quieting my mind.
I could honestly care less about money but have been adamant about wanting one of my Granny’s quilts, pictures, dishes, and a plant. It sounds like my Dad put aside a quilt and dishes for me, but the majority of her belongings are being donated to the Salvation Army in Rutherford County, since SA helped my Granny when her house burnt down in the 70’s. I look forward to receiving these items, hopefully sooner rather than later. I never knew how sentimental her belongings would be to me until they’re all I have left. I will cherish the memories we shared and plan to work on some sort of craft activity soon that’s a tribute to my Granny.
All in all my Granny was a wonderful person; she worked for the Department of Human Services, the Post Office and God only knows where else. She was funny, compassionate and so supportive. I can tell I’m feeling depressed when I don’t even have the energy to elaborate on what a good person she was, but I’m trying.
My dad, uncle and aunt will travel to Kentucky tomorrow to bury her ashes, and I wish I could be there. But it’s looking like Keegan and I will make an impromptu trip to Nashville this Christmas, so that will be nice. All I want is to be supportive of my family. You never know what can happen from one moment to the next, and I will never take for granted my family and friends that are still alive.
I appreciate the 60+ people who personally reached out to me on Facebook and the friends that called and text me the last few days to check on me. I especially appreciate Tika and Candi reaching out to my dad, since they live closer to him than I do. Overall it’s been an emotional, taxing weekend, and I’m hoping to bounce back soon. I don’t expect to just “be okay” overnight, but surely this grief will lift overtime. In the meantime I’ll focus on my family, self-preservation and taking life one day at a time.
I can tell I haven’t been right the last few days. My brain feels like it’s in a fog. I lose my train of thought, zone out and forget what I’m saying. Despite the smiles when Matthew was here, I feel such a deep sense of loss on the inside. My outward appearance is not congruent with what’s going on within.
I love you and miss you Granny. I feel you with me when I’m sad, and I know that’s what you wouldn’t want, but I’m doing the best I can. I feel detached and despondent, but I’ll do what I can to make you proud, I promise.