I Promised Myself I Would Grieve Later

This Sunday would have been my grandma’s 97th birthday and it’ll also be our first birthday without her since she passed away last year. I haven’t really grieved her passing, but this month has been hard. At first, I was just grateful that I got to see her one last time before she passed. I was glad that I got to hold her hand one last time; tell her I loved her one last time; give her a hug and a kiss on the check one last time; read the Bible to her one last time. I rejoiced in those final moments that we spent together rather than grieved them. I promised myself I would grieve later.

When I returned from my visit to see her, we had to deal with Shelby suddenly being let go from his job and the uncertainties that accompanied that. My time was mostly consumed with trying to figure out what we were going to do and the adjustments we’d need to make. There was no time to grieve the loss of my grandmother, I was too preoccupied grieving the loss of our current lifestyle and the emotional stress it placed on our family, especially Shelby. I promised myself I would grieve later.

Our whole family flew down for her funeral, and I wanted to honor her by giving her eulogy. You can’t eulogize someone if you’re sobbing buckets of tears, so I had to hold back my emotions for a more “convenient time”. I knew that it was more important for people to hear my words than see my tears. I wanted them to know about the woman she was and the many ways that she touched people’s lives. Surely, they wouldn’t understand a single word I said if I couldn’t hold back my tears. I promised myself I would grieve later.

A few weeks after we returned home from the funeral, Shelby ended up in the hospital after I found him passed out on the kitchen floor in a pool of his own blood. After spending a week in the hospital having gone through various tests, procedures and a surgery to remove a birth defect, he spent the next few weeks recovering at home. I promised myself I would grieve later.

I hate to break a promise and later is now. I find myself sobbing at the strangest things. While changing the kid’s calendar from January to February, I was overcome with grief when I put up “24”. The combination of “February” and “24” flooded my mind with days spent with her. Days that have come to an end and are now only memories. While at Costco, I saw a shelf of cranberry pills. Pills that she frequently took. My mind flashbacked to the many doctor’s visits I’d have to take her to and the time we’d spend talking about life while we waited. Then last Sunday an ambulance drove in front of us on the ride home from church and it reminded me of how she’d pray for the person who was either sick or hurt every time she heard the sirens on emergency vehicles.

I just miss her. I miss how I can’t talk to her, can’t hear her voice, can’t hold her hand, can’t tell her I love her, can’t make another memory with her. I know she lived a long life. I know she’s in a far better place where she has been made whole. I know the wonders she read about in her worn Bible are now realities. I understand these things in my head, but it feels like a piece of my heart is now missing.

And I think it’s perfectly fine to just sit here and cry. To let the tears fall. To let grief wash over me like a flood. I think the tears are a reminder of love. It’s like the saying, “better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” I’d rather have loved my grandma and grieve losing her, than never to have loved her at all. If loving someone means you feel pain and sorrow when you lose them, then I think it’s worth it. I wouldn’t trade a single tear for all the memories I had with her. I’ll cherish them forever, even through my tears.

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