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It has been 11 long months here without you. Sometimes I miss you so bad it is unbearable, and most times it is all still so unbelievable to me that you are gone. Every day that passes is another day farther away from you I get. I cringed when it turned 2019 knowing that I left you in 2018 and there would be no more memories to make with you in this new year.
You were the glue that held our tiny little family together. Now that you are gone, we don’t get together as we should. I know you would hate that. Everyone just kind of does their own thing and we aren’t involved in each other’s lives.
I know the holidays will be hard this year. On Labor Day the assisted living center you used to live at had a float in the parade. Even though I knew better, I still looked for you sitting up there with the rest of your former neighbors, just like you did a couple of years before.
That’s the thing grandma, I look for you everywhere. Even though my head knows better, my heart can’t believe it. My entire life I have never known a time without you and it doesn’t feel right. It’s like I just keep waiting to see you. I feel like if I could just drive far enough, I may find you. It is all so irrational. And I guess in a way I am waiting, because I know we will see each other again. Although I’m glad about that, it doesn’t seem to offer the comfort or fill the space I’m looking for or need right now.
My heart skips a beat at every little white-haired lady I see when I’m out.
I dream about you all the time. When I wake up, I feel close to you, like your presence was just with me, sometimes this makes me happy other times just sad.
I think about the times before Alzheimer’s took over your mind and how much we were always together. While the world was always busy and working, we had each other during the weekdays.
I sure could use you now!
Remember all the things we used to do? Grandma, you should see all the pictures I have of you and Riley. I realized just how many places you went with us and how excited you always were to go on adventures with us. Speaking of Riley, he misses you. He was so close to you and you were always such a huge part of his life. You always told him he was the sweetest, most handsome kid, and I know he loved that.
I know you didn’t get to spend that much time with Journey since you left right after her 1st birthday, but you would get such a kick out of her. She is a busy girl and still has that same extreme temperament you got to witness when we would visit. I am so glad you got to see her. I took as many pictures as possible in that first year and I have them hanging from a mobile in her room. I will ALWAYS make sure she hears your name and knows all about you.
She was with me there at the nursing home on your last day grandma. She has always been an intuitive little baby and she knew you were in pain. Grandma, you wouldn’t believe how good she was. She just sat there letting me take care of you not making a peep. She knew and understood, maybe better than I did at the time.
There was a part of me that was so sad when I found out I was pregnant this summer knowing you wouldn’t get to meet your new great-granddaughter. But then when she passed away when I was 15 weeks pregnant, I instantly knew that she was with you. “Nothing sweeter than a baby” you would always say. You always loved babies and children and were so good with them. There is no doubt in my mind that you are taking care of her, and I get great peace of mind knowing she is with you.
When it Was Time to Say Goodbye
I picked out one of the best pictures you have ever taken for your obituary. You looked so pretty with your white wavy hair and smile. I know you would have approved.
Everett officiated your funeral grandma. Who would have ever thought that little boy you raised as your own grandson would step up like that in honor of your memory? He did a great job.
Your funeral had a great turn out.
Mom sure was having a hard time leaving you after the funeral. I had never seen her so upset. I’m sure it is extremely hard losing your mother.
You know what grandma, Connie, Mike, Joyce, and Roy got me a beautiful lantern with an electric candle in it for me to take home from the funeral. I love it so much; it was so thoughtful of them. I have it sitting on my entryway table and I turn on the candle often in your memory. I don’t know why but it comforts me.
You wouldn’t have believed the line of cars going down the highway in the funeral procession while we were on our way to the cemetery to lay you to rest by grandpa. You would have been so surprised to see all the people that came to pay their respects.
Afterward, they even had dinner for us at the church. It was a beautiful church with so much food of every kind you could think of. All your favorite people were there, tons of family and friends, all there to honor you, grandma. I know you didn’t think that many people thought of you or cared sometimes because you were alone a lot, but at that moment, I realized just how much of an impact you made on everyone.
I know all you ever wanted, is for everyone to be together and be celebrating and having a good time. And even though we were there to honor you, it seemed so strange to look around your family and not see you there. Reality sat in hard.
I have been to visit you and grandpa a couple of times at the cemetery since. I am not going to lie; it was so surreal seeing your name on the headstone.
Speaking of grandpa, what was it like getting reunited after all this time? I bet there are no words for all the wonderful you are experiencing now.
You Are Always With Me
Do you know how much you impacted me my whole life? I find myself constantly thinking about what you would do or say. I guess that is the benefit of being raised and growing up close to you. I find that I use what you taught me as a guideline to so many things in my life, after all, you and I were always quite a bit alike, you would often say so yourself.
I think about you when I give the baby a bath and the ways you used to do it for me when I was little….with all the bubbles. You were always a pro when it came to babies and kids because you had raised so many growing up with that many siblings, nieces, and nephews.
When I drink coffee, when I hear the Price Is Right on tv, when I see porch swings, smell cookies, see the sunrise, hear certain songs, see a People magazine in the checkout line, eat ice cream, when I watch Saturday Night Live, and especially when I play Rummy with Riley; nearly everything in this life has a memory attached to it from you grandma. That is how much a part of my life you were. You were my confidant, my advocate, and my teacher. Learning to navigate this life without you is harder than I could have ever imagined.
I love you always.