May 12, 2019, Mother's Day, was the last time I got to see my grandpa. He had been sick for months now, so every time I was in town, I made sure going to see him and my grandma was a priority. Before I left, I went to kiss him goodbye but he was sleeping, but before I could get out the door my grandma called me back into the room because he had woken up. I hurriedly went back in, excited that he was up now so that I could tell him I loved him before I got on the road. If I would have known that it was the last time I would get to hear " I love you baby, be safe", I probably would have stayed a little longer. I would have held his hand a little longer. I would have told him I loved him even more.
It felt (and still feels) unreal. I felt lost. I not only mourned for myself, but for my family.
For my granny, who lost the love of her life and best friend.
My mama, who lost her first love and protector.
My sisters, who also lost one of the most important men in their lives.
For the rest of my family, who have lost our beloved patriarch.
I mourned for us all and for what is now our new reality.
I learned quickly that grief is a tricky thing,and even throughout these last two weeks, I am realizing it is still just the beginning of it all. Some moments, I feel everything. Others, I feel semi normal. In all though, grief has presented itself to me in waves where I struggle with wanting to just "be okay". I struggle with knowing if it is okay to feel moments of happiness or if there is ever a time limit on how long I am supposed to feel this pain and how should I be expressing it.Grief looks different on everyone and there is no wrong or right way to process it, as long as you are doing so in a healthy manner.It is an everyday struggle and I am okay with admitting that I am not okay right now. I am okay with not having answers to any of this and just accepting and honoring my emotions as they come.
Through this all though, I can say that what I was not expecting were the lessons that have come as I go through this. I feel like in a way, they’re after life lessons from my Paw Paw. Grief is teaching me that it is okay for me to lean on others. I didn't realize how scary that can be for me. I didn't realize that so often I keep things in and don't take up the offer of being comforted because it makes me feel weak or needy. I am learning that I can not do this. I can't hold in the emotions I am feeling and I am so thankful for the friends (more like family at this point) who took time to just say " Hey, I saw this. Are you okay? What do you need from me?". It is so refreshing to hear that. So refreshing to give in and be nurtured, loved, attended to and comforted, while also allowing me space to feel my emotions in whatever way I need to. If you are like me, you get so wrapped up in your head that you forget just how loved and cared for you actually are. In this moment, it really made me aware of just how supported I am.
I find comfort in knowing that I can still feel him through the memories I have, along with the impact and legacy he has left with each and every person he has ever encountered. I find comfort in knowing that he is in heaven, probably fishing with God.This is a continuous process, healing work that never has a definite conclusion. Every day brings a new emotion, a new feeling, and I am committed on working on embracing it for whatever it may be or whatever wave may come next.