Ten years ago today, my grandma passed away. It was such a world-rattling thing for me. My nana (dad’s mom) had passed away eight years earlier, and while I was extremely upset I was still young, living with my family, and immersed in routine. When my gram passed, I was three months into a new job and only a year into my post-college life. I was a baby adult who just wasn’t prepared for the emotional impact her death had on my life.
I look back at her last few months and wish I hadn’t been so naive. Even though I knew she was sick I was in denial. I thought there would be more time. I don’t remember a sense of urgency, but I think my parents and aunts and uncles were very conscious that my brother and cousins and I were all in new life phases and didn’t want to upset us. I’m sure my gramma had a lot to do with that. She never would have wanted us to worry.
But still, I wish I’d been more aware. The last time I was at the house with her, I didn’t say goodbye because she was sleeping. I regret not even sticking my head in to blow her a kiss. I don’t remember the last thing we talked about. To me, she seemed calm. I realize now that’s because she knew what was coming, and she believed her Tommy was waiting for her. I get a lot of comfort knowing that she was comforted.
I obviously wish she could have met Mike and my children. I wish all the time I had her here to help me through Maddie’s death. But I’m also strangely glad she wasn’t here for that, that she didn’t have to feel that pain all over again.
I don’t know…your grandparents are supposed to die before you. It’s the natural order of things. But what is “natural” anyway…I don’t even know anymore. I think about my grammy every day. I talk to her. I hope she can help me through the pit I’m in. I wish she was here. I miss her.
Annie Y says:
I feel for you. On Wednesday, it will be 4 years since my grandma passed away. She barely had time to get to know my 3rd child and will never get to meet our newest, Ellie.
I miss her every day!
She was lovely Heather…and I can tell by reading your posts about her how very much you loved her.
I can see so much of you in her, Heather. We never, ever stop wishing that they were still here…………………………..
Heather, my grandma has been gone for 19 years and there is not a day goes by that I don’t miss her so much it hurts. I was the same as you… somewhat in denial that she was as sick as she was. I look at all of her great grandkids and think how tickled she would be with all of these boys, but at the same time, I’m glad she wasn’t here to experience the pain of losing my aunt and then my cousin in less than a year. But she’s with me every single day… I can’t wait to see her again. Great big (hugs) to you…
My grandma died 1 month ago. I am 42 years old, and I knew she was dying. I got to say good-bye to her. I should be OK with it. But I am not. This has been so much harder than I expected, so I understand your pain. I know you were really close to your grandma, so that makes it especially hard. It is hard to fathom when parents and grandparents are around that they will someday be gone.
Hugs! My grandma died 4 years ago this coming September and not a day passes that I don’t think of her and miss her dearly. (Some cliches are just too true not to use). My girls were so close to her, and it makes me sad to think how much of a kick she would’ve gotten out of my kids, especially my son (she wanted 12 boys at one time!) At 38, I should be prepared for this, but as natural as it is, I’m not. Luckily, my cousin still lives in her house, and has left it largely unchanged. I’m also working on family genealogy, specifically my grandma’s family, which helps. I only hope my kids are as close to their grandma.:)
My dad’s dad passed away 11 years ago from cancer. I was in middle school and even though I knew he was sick and I visited him more than usual after he was diagnosed, I didn’t know he was THAT sick or dying until my dad told me I needed to go visit him one last time to say goodbye. I guess my family wanted to protect me from worry as long as they could. I still miss him all the time, and I’m so sad that he didn’t get to see my high school and college graduations. I know what you mean about it being “natural.” Of course it’s better to grow old and die than to die young, but death is always sad for those left behind. It may be “natural” that most people have to live through their parents’ deaths, but the thought still terrifies and saddens me. I’m glad you were close to your Gram and that a part of her lives on in you. I’m sorry she isn’t here now.
My grandma passed 10 yrs on 3/22. She was truly my best friend. Devastating. Hugs to you!
This year will be five years since my Aunt passed away too early from brain cancer. I still think of her daily. I wish she were here. The family is not the same without her in it. Same thing for my Nana who passed away when I was just 16, I just didn’t have enough time in my life with her in it.
I totally understand all of this.
Heather, I think this is a beautiful post. My grandmother was “Granny”…Oh, how I wish my kids could have known her..or have a grandmother of their own.
Sending much love to you, Heather.
I’m in the process of planning a trip to California soon to see my last living grandparent, and this will likely be the last time I see him. Breaks my heart just to think about it.
My nana died suddenly 6 1/2 years ago and my papa followed her 5 months later. He got sick immediately after she died. They were my best friends and the best people I’ve ever met. Losing them left me breathless and seriously lost for a long time. Actually, I still am. I also talk to them all the time and when my kids do something funny or cute, I get a pang of sadness knowing they never got to meet them. Hugs heather and lots of love. She looks like a beautiful person. Xo
Sending hugs your way, Heather. Today and every day.
I absolutely dread the loss of my grandparents — I’m so close to them. My mom’s parents live 10 minutes away and I see them all the time, and my dad’s mom comes up our way fairly frequently (or we get out to her). I’ve learned so much from them and love them dearly, and as I’m getting older (and they are, too) I realize that we don’t have forever, as much as I wish we did. Thanks for a reminder to cherish them every day.
My grandmother died in 1983 just 6 months after I married my husband and I think of her often. Sometimes when I can’t sleep at night I go room by room in my mind through her house. Grandparents are such an important part of life and it’s nice that your parents are so involved with your little ones. I feel bad for kids who don’t have any in their lives.
Jay- The Dude of the House says:
I share a lot of the same feelings regarding my own mother. I knew she was sick, but still wonder how I could be so oblivious as I navigated my first year of being a parent. So many things I would have done differently…
I’m sorry for your loss. It sounds like your grammy was a special woman.
My Grandma passed away shortly after my second child was born. I was devastated because she was the only person that really understood me and helped me out in my *bad days* I miss her more than life. And even after 8 years and two more kids I still talk to her all the time about my kids and my problems. I just know she’s here with me and helping me thru my life. I completely understand. Hugs to you and yours.
I am so sorry for your loss. Grammas are such a wonderful blessing, and I am so happy for you that you were so close to yours! What a special lady she must have been! I love the story of her dancing around after your graduation- that is adorable!!
I’m sure you miss her dearly, and I’m sure she feels the same. I would like to think that she is being an amazing great grandma to your precious Maddie, and that they are laughing and playing and dancing and cooking together, just as she did with you.
Love and hugs, today and always!
She is still present in your life because her love shaped you and fortified you. She knew how much you loved her even though you didn’t have the “perfect” goodbye. If you reach out to her, she will help to hoist you of whatever pit you are in. I believe this about your grandmother, just as I believe my grandmother somehow is still with me and helps to guide me. Much love.
When my dad got sick, I blamed myself. I knew he was ailing before that. Little things. But I refused to believe my dad was sick. And then he went into hospital for tests. He had liver cancer. We were told six months. We got one week.
It’s in no way your fault that you didn’t realise your Gram was sick. Like my dad, she probably didn’t want you to know.
She’s watching over you. She’s your guardian angel. I’m sure she takes much pleasure in your daughters. Light a candle for her, and say your peace.
My grandma (dad’s mom) passed away a few years ago, I was sad, but because she was out of state I didn’t know her that well. But I have a grandma (mom’s mom) near me who is 86, who is my world. I spent many summers with her growing up, and being the only granddaughter and the oldest, she and I have an extra special bond. I have told her that she has to live forever. I am in my late 30’s and don’t know if I am mature enough to handle it. Praying for you.
I feel you…my grandmother passed away 14 years ago and I think about her every day. I miss her terribly, but I just know that I’ll get to see her again someday. She was an amazing lady who lost two of her own children before she passed. I like to think about her seeing them after all those years…what a reunion! I still wish she was here though….I never got to know her as an adult and I’m sad about that.
I am so sorry about your grandmother. I am with you – what is “natural”? My grandmother died the week before our first son died. I can’t tell you how many times I have thought/hoped/prayed that my grandmother is taking care of Jake (and now our other son, Sawyer).
Thinking of you and your grandmother. Take care.
Karen M says:
I’m so sorry, Heather. My grandmother just passed 8 weeks ago, 1 week before my daughter was born. The first time I looked at my daughter, I saw my grandmom in her and knew she was looking down on us and got to see her great granddaughter.
i understand this completely. I miss my grandma and grandpa on my mom’s side so much. Its been 9? years since my grandpa passed and a few more for my grandma. They never got to see my kids. They dont know that my daughter’s middle name is my grandma’s or that my 3rd child’s middle name is my grandpa’s. They lived far away, and i never got to say goodbye to them, really. I was going up to see my grandpa that summer and he passed a week before i made it. So instead i went to the funeral. I really miss them both. They would have loved seeing my kids. They would have just been so tickled to hear the funny crap that comes out of their mouths.
So i feel you. xoxo. it is hard.
I miss mine too. Every, every day.
I felt the same when I lost my grandpa but in and odd way, losing my daughter has given me such a different perspective to losing those who have lived a long full life. I think of my grandpa, living a long full life full of kids and grandkids and that we all got to know him so well and I wish that would have been life for my daughter too. I still miss him but am so comforted that he is up there with his great-granddaughter.
Lovely post. I wish that my children could have that sort of relationship with their grandparents.
I’m really sorry, Heather. I can relate to the pain of missing a grandma, although my story’s a bit different – all four of my grandparents were gone by the time I was fifteen, (twenty now) and I just wish I could have had more time with my paternal grandmother. I had the closest relationship with her and I would have loved to have seen where it could have gone.
First off, your grandma looks a lot like my grandma did. I never got to meet her myself, but the photos I’ve seen could definitely support a theory of twins separated at birth.
My grandpa passed away two and a half years ago, and I miss him all the time. He was the best man I have ever known, and when he passed away I felt really guilty for not actually saying goodbye (not that we knew he was going to pass away- he was perfectly fine, and then went in his sleep on Easter night. He left the family party before I could give him a goodbye hug and kiss), but I know he loved us all and he knew how much we loved him. I’m sure your grandmother was the same, and knew how much you loved her as well. I feel for you.
Kari weber says:
I found out I was pregnant with my first son, only to get the call from my mom 20 minutes later to say that my Grammie had died. Now my mom is Grammie, and I think of mine every day. I never really knew my grandfathers, they all died when I was too young to remember, and my father died 4 months ago. My husband’s father died before we were married. It pains me to know that my children will grow up with the same gaping hole in their life that I always felt.
Kristen G. says:
Hi Heather. I haven’t commented in awhile but this post gives me goosebumps. My Ma D was 99 when she passed away last Sept. She was such a loving presence in our families lives. She got to meet 5 great grandkids. Wonderful post.
This captures what I was feeling yesterday. As I was sitting in an airport on the verge of crying, it was a great release to read this and remember that I’m not the only person feeling this way (okay, and then I did cry a little). Thanks, Heather.
My gram died six years ago, my mom died fourteen months ago. I miss my mom and grandma, I need them and I want them. All this really good stuff is suddenly happening in mine and my sisters’ lives… you know, with the exception of the terrible thing that never goes away — losing our mom. I’m sad she’s missing out, and sad she not here to take care of me grieving her, which I realize would be completely impossible. It’s just how I feel. I feel like I want to go home.
I, too, am glad for the things that my grandma got to miss. I’m glad she doesn’t know my cousin died, or that her daughter, my mom, died so young, but dang do I wish she was here for me during this. I miss her all the time.
I’m ridiculously sentimental (I made me sister come to our house closing to take photos), and still somehow bad at realizing the gravity of situations and recognizing when major change is upon us. We spent weekend after weekend cleaning out my mom’s house. It started making me crazy after a while. I couldn’t imagine doing this forever. Somehow even though it was obvious our time at her home was winding down, I wasn’t seeing the weekends we had that way. They seemed like an endless stream of weekends that would on forever. Now I just want to go home, and sometimes I feel like squandered those weekend and should have savored every moment.
After my grandpa passed, I started talking to my gram almost every night before she went to bed. I loved talking to her. I’d ask her about her day, ask specifics of mundane things, and sometimes zone out, all the while telling myself that I better stop zoning and really live this, that I won’t have her forever, and I should squeeze all the goodness I can out of our time together.
You look so much like your gram–I see where you & Maddie got your red hair!
My gramma also passed away 10 years ago and I still miss her. The only thing I remember being grateful for was that she & my grandpa weren’t here when my nephew, their great-grandson died. It would have crushed them. Instead, I prefer to think that they were waiting on the other side for him.
But we talk about them all the time. I love that my niece recognized their pictures! I have a bunch of black & white pictures of my gramma from the 30s & 40s in my room and my niece just loves looking at them–she thinks the lady is soooo pretty. She was surprised when I told her that her great-gramma Nita: not quite the same look as she’s used to! A lot less wrinkles! LOL