Friday, March 5, 2010

Missing Grandma

Today is not my favorite day of the year. It is one of the more difficult ones. Two years ago today, surrounded by the love of her family, my grandma passed away.

Passed away. I can't believe that it's still so hard to say, write, and think that.

I'm not good with the time lines because my family, God love them, tried to keep the truth hidden for awhile. They hemmed and hawed about what may or may not have been wrong with her. In their defense, it was done at her request. That's probably the only thing that kept me from being angry when I found out that she had cancer.

Cancer. Another hard thing to say or write. You would think that you would get used to that word but I haven't yet. It's such an ugly, nasty word. I hate it.

Grandma fought a good fight for a long time. I think that it was around 18 months from the time that she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She'd been sick for awhile at that point, though. The odds were very against her and the length of her fight alone shows just how determined she was to squeeze every last drop of lemonade out of the lemon she was given. Pancreatic cancer is one of those especially bad sorts. Not that there is a "good" sort of cancer, of course.

That shit is all evil.

The grief that I have felt for the past two years has been a journey. Jason lost his father in 2000, so I knew that feelings would surface in their own time. You hear a lot about the stages of grief and when I was on the outside of Jason's grief looking in, I thought of those stages as a type of map. Stay straight at Denial. Turn left at Anger. You can take the Bargaining Bypass or just go straight to Depression. Keep going straight until you hit Acceptance. I figured that it was something that would get easier with time. I thought it was a journey with a final destination point. I guess I thought that it would eventually end.

I didn't know about the waves. I didn't know about the whirlpools. I didn't understand the depths of the pain involved. I just plain didn't know.

Now I know that the stages of grief are more like a lighthouse. They guide you in, but you can't follow them directly. Sometimes a wave comes and knocks you down. Sometimes you find yourself getting dragged out to sea a little. Sometimes you find that you're closer to shore than you had thought. And, of course, a lighthouse isn't a destination. It's a place that gives you a bearing to safe harbor, but you never really "arrive" at the lighthouse.

Does that mean I don't think that you arrive at acceptance? No. But some days the water in your harbor is a little deeper than others. Sometimes it just hurts a little more.


  1. Amanda,
    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on grief, I don't think I've ever heard it put so well .... just right. I still find myself dealing with my grandfather's passing. Not a blood relative, he saved me from a sad situation and adopted me when I was young. He raised me on his own and left this world just before my oldest child was born, something he was incredibly excited about. I'm not sure I have ever really dealt with my feelings or successfully travelled through the stages of grief. Still, most days I get by and other days (like right about now) I found myself a complete mess. I hope that on this day you had a chance to celebrate her life and all that she meant to you. I also hope you find a way to share all the things you love and remember about her with your children. I keep meaning to make a memory game using pictures of our family (since none of them are close by to help the kids learn more about each person. When I do, I will also include pictures of my grandfather because even though he may be gone. I always want him to be a part of my life and theirs :) Think I'll go wipe my eyes now ...

  2. Ugh. I know what you are going through. My step dads birthday is today (the 9th) and he died from Lung Cancer. I want to know why do they say it gets better over time?? It doesn't really get better ever, does it. *sigh*

  3. You were able to put into words what a lot of people have a hard time verbalizing. Grief is never easy or predictable. I hope that today is a good day for you!



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