Roller Coaster of Emotions

I can’t believe that I’ve only been in Denver since Wednesday. I feel like I have been here for years.

One of the most impactful moments was seeing my grandmother’s body in the casket last night. We walked into the room and there was just the shell of the person who was there and all the denial and things I was holding on to went away.

“She really is gone” I said before weeping (loudly) on my dad’s shoulder. She really isn’t here anymore. I’m sleeping in the room that was her office and typing this blog on her computer (where she bookmarked the page) and she’s not here anymore.

She won’t be laughing, drinking scotch, making dinners and cookies, and saying “Sam Hell” any more. I know she’s in a better place and that she isn’t suffering anymore but that leaves me with little comfort. I’m sad.

I want to see her face but seeing her in that coffin really made it real. I’m glad that she provided that for us and that she made it part of the deal (she had 8 pages of instructions for her funeral and viewing because that’s just the kind of person she was).

I’m glad because it made it real. I’m glad because I could see that she wasn’t in that room. I could leave her body behind because she isn’t there anymore. All that was left was the shell.

My dad and uncle kept saying that’s not her. They kept saying that the funeral home botched the job. But really when I think about Grandma and her face I see the life she brought. I see the smile on her face and the jokes and sarcasm that dripped off her tongue. I see the hugs and the love that she freely gave. She’s not her body and when her soul left all that was left was the shell.

She’s really not here anymore. I’m sad and selfish and wish that she was and there’s tons of things I wish I had said and tons of things I wish I had done but regrets are worthless. So I choose instead to focus on the fond memories I have of summers of being with her and in the last year or so the connection that we made through email and texts. She often had encouraging words and she would say that she was proud of me. Which let’s face it is all of our goals in life: to make someone proud of us. I know other people are proud of me to but the love that we shared was special and now she’s gone and it sucks.

It’s so hard for me to get close to people and trust them and it is in times like these with great pain and suffering that I wonder if it is worth it. I mean deep down I know it is but right now I’m in pain, laying down on the floor in the fetal postion, slamming my fists on the floor, crying out to God “why,” kind of pain. And all I know is the pain.

Maybe tomorrow I will remember that getting closer to people has benefits but right now all I see and feel is the pain.


It’s Okay to be Where You Are

As many of you know my Grandmother passed away on Monday evening.

Here’s how the story went in my life: Kristie (my roommate) wanted to take me out to celebrate my birthday (it was Saturday) so we went out to dinner. When we were done with dinner we went to go see a movie. After we bought tickets we went outside and I checked the time on my phone and noticed that I missed a few calls from my mom and home.

I called home (or what’s labeled as Olathe in my phone) and talked to my dad. During the process of my grandmothers being sick I have expected bad news every time my parents call. They both always ask if I was just sleeping but I’m just waiting for them to get to the bad news and Monday it was pretty bad news.

About a month ago or so doctors found a large tumor on grandma’s kidney and she had fluid in her lungs. The fluid turned out to have cancer cells in it so it was determined that she had stage 4 cancer and it has spread everywhere. The doctors told her that she wasn’t going to be cured but that they would try to give her time. They were going to move her to rehab and then three weeks later give her some pills that would deal with the cancer. She never made it three weeks.

So when I talked to my dad after dinner he said that she was at rehab and couldn’t breath so they sent her to the ER and in the ER she decided that she didn’t want extraordinary measures so they sent her to hospice.

I was devastated. I thought we had more time than that. I was going to see her on the 26th. Dad basically said the same thing out loud. So I hung up with him and my roommate asked me what I wanted to do and I said I wanted to see the movie.

It wasn’t going to do me any good to sit at home and freak out so I decided to seeĀ Dark Shadows (it’s hilarious by the way) and when the movie was over I had several missed calls from my mom and a text saying “Call me.” I called her back in the middle of a parking structure and she told me that grandma had died. I couldn’t believe it. She was gone. I still can’t believe it.

This is the second grandparent I have lost, to cancer no less. It sucks. And there isn’t much people can do. A friend is taking me to the airport in hours and then when I get back I will be using my friends to help me pack and make runs to Goodwill (I will be leaning on you when I get back).

When my first grandparent died (while I was alive. My mom’s dad died when she was a kid so I never got to know him) I tried to force the process. I felt like I had to be sad, so I tried to think about sad things when I wasn’t sad. Since then I have grown up. I have realized that the process is fluid and I may be in all the stages of grief at once or just one at a time. Yesterday I was angry, in denial and depressed all at the same time. I was also able to function for most of the day by keeping myself busy and preoccupied with other things. Feeling it in the moment and fully escaping was the perfect mixture to get me through the day.

This time I’m not forcing feelings. If I’m numb, I’m going with it. If I’m angry I’m going with that. Wherever I am in this process of grief is okay because that’s where I am. It’s also okay for everyone to be in different stages of the grief process. It’s okay if my cousins have made it to acceptance and I’m still in the rest of the process. We each deal with this differently and that’s fine. We are where we are.

I have also noticed that I have become more sappy in the process. I’m telling everyone I love them and why because I can’t get “Say What You Need To Say” out of my head from John Mayer’s “Say.”

It’s okay to be where I am and as the day continues and as I travel to Denver I think I will have to remind myself of that even more.

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