I had no idea how difficult the grieving process is until my grandma died. Wednesday marked five months since she passed away from lung cancer. She was only in her mid-70s, and she could’ve had plenty more years ahead of her. Sometimes I get angry at her for not quitting smoking, even when she was first diagnosed. Sometimes I get mad at myself for not heckling her about it more when I had the chance. Sometimes I think about all the unspoken conversations we never had but had the chance to have; for us, we assumed we had all the time in the world, even though we didn’t.
At least a couple days every week I have what I call “a breakdown moment.” I’ll be working on a column for my internship or reading something for school, then I’ll look up and see the photos of her tucked into my bureau mirror, or the pie-crust table her T.V. sits on, or the pressed flowers in a blue-lined frame that hung in her bedroom. It hurts having a reminder of her in my room, but I know it’s the only way I can force myself to heal and I don’t want her to fully disappear. I know many people feel that it’s “healthy” to cry all the time, but are these people aware of how exhausting it is? I don’t like having dreams of her every other night. I don’t like dreaming that I’m back in her house and she’s not there. I don’t like waking up crying. It’s exhausting and stressful and I don’t know how to handle it. Even after five months.
It still feels really surreal to no longer have her in my life and it absolutely sucks that I can’t call her every time something cool happens. What’s funny is that as much as I know she’s gone, I still have moments where I think “Gramma has to hear this!” or “I can’t wait to tell Gramma!” and then I’m instantly shot down with the reminder that I can’t. Yeah, yeah, I know I could start a journal or something to her, but it’s not the same. It’s not like she’ll write back, and that’s what I’m ultimately missing about her – her words of wisdom and encouragement; I miss her getting excited with me, feeling sad with me, feeling inspired with me.
What I’ve found myself doing occasionally is talking to her out loud. When I’m hanging clothes up in my closet, or just getting home from a particularly productive internship meeting, whatever, I find myself talking to her. It helps a little, but her voice will never answer back, and that’s what breaks my heart.