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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Letter to Heaven...

I really wasn’t sure if I wanted to write something. I went through so much right before you were gone that I wrote and wrote and it did nothing. At that time I think I was just numb. I didn’t feel anything or I was not allowing myself to feel anything out of fear. I was terrified of what might come out. I always saw you as this strong going to live forever presence in my life. I needed that from you, but I know it would have been selfish. You always told me that you weren’t going to live forever when I joked that you had too. So many times I have wanted to just go sit on the steps of the house or on the couch where we spent so much time together laughing and talking. I even go to pick up the phone to call you when I need to talk. I wanted it to not be real. I still talk to you all the time, but it isn’t the same. I know you lived a long, full, and happy life. Everything that you said you wanted in life you received. That is not something many of us can say. I admired that about you. Life was very simple and not complicated for you. I tried to breathe that in when I was around you.

Having to watch you go was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do in my life. I am not even sure where the strength came from to do it. Normally, my reaction would have been to crawl into a deep dark hole and just be alone. Something told me I could not do that this time. I had to be there with you and for you. I wanted to be there in those last moments no matter how heartbreaking and painful it was, but it did not compare to what you were going through. I remember combing your hair and taking care of you while I was visiting you in the hospital. It was only fitting the way you always took care of me and listened. No matter what mess I might have been in or felt like, you somehow made me feel normal. I always left you feeling happy, smiling, and laughing. The fact that it is the anniversary of your death has me thinking and almost reliving those last few days I got to spend with you. I knew. I just knew that are time together was going to be very short at that moment. I struggle everyday with missing you and thinking of you, but I am making it through my days with whatever grace I can. My life has changed since you have been gone. It has changed in so many amazing ways. I wish you were here for them and could see, but I know you can still see me and all that I am working on doing. Today I am struggling while trying not to fall off the path I have created for myself. Taking it day by day and step by step, but during a time like this is the hardest.

I wish I could pick up the phone right now as I desperately need it. I feel that that little girl in grandmas arms. I miss my hand in yours and feeling that love. I thought about visiting the cemetery, but not ready for that yet. I will go back to that day and that time and that wound is healing. I know you are not there, and I can feel your presence anywhere. When I feel I can't breathe, I try to remember your words and example. I am not sure I can be as content as I know you were, but I do know we were very much alike in so many ways. Whatever was thrown your way you handled with grace. I...not so much all the time. You are still there when I need you to be in my heart. I hear that whisper in my head. They say time heals all wounds, but I don’t think it has to do much with time anymore. I think we have to put effort into healing ourselves. There are so many outlets and people to reach out too. One thing I am bad at is reaching out. You know this, and I am working on that.

I know you would be proud, but I also know you were always proud of anything I did and you made sure I knew it. It could have been so simple and you would have been so excited for me as if I won some great prize. It made me feel so loved. You were always honest with me even when it was not what I necessarily wanted to hear. I know I was not perfect, but you never felt the need to bring up anything negative. You always saw the positive no matter what the situation. You are and were the definition of love to me. I always thought I wasn’t exactly sure what it was or what it meant. Never was into much affection growing up except with select people. I believe it was because of that my heart jumped and beat the way it did.

I realized there is no way I could be lost on what love truly is and feels like when your blood ran through my veins. You lived in my heart and always will, so my heart is filled with so much of it that I just never recognized before the way I do now. I did not need to learn it. I just needed to remember I am part of you along with so many other people. That was enough for me to understand how to accept it and return it. Love is what got me through those last moments with you. Though you could not speak, I know you knew I was there holding your hand. The tears did not flow because I knew I had to be strong for you. It was not my time to weep just yet. When I allowed myself too, it would not come out. It happens at random times where they flow as if I have never shed a tear before.

I can’t explain it all here, but one day I will tell you all about it. Life is certainly not the same. I lost a piece of me and a piece of my heart for a while, but I am slowly finding the pieces and putting them back together. I feel a hole was left, but each day it gets easier as I see you everywhere and smile. I laugh at the memories because I laughed with you like nobody else. Our time was special enough to hold me for a very long time. Your love was something I can’t explain. It did for me what it was intended for a grandmothers love to do. You were so much more than that to me. You were every relationship I needed in my life all wrapped into one. I ache, but I am healing. I am finding that journey to be fulfilling more than I ever imagined it could be. You were a matriarch to our family. You will always be loved and missed by so many. Our time had to end at some point, but I was never ready for it too and I never will be. I try to keep you alive as much as I possibly can. Obviously we both know I can’t actually bring you back. A little humor as you know I have to include that as I always did. When you laughed your entire face would light up. It was such a real and loud laugh. Life was good to you because you saw the good in life. You had faith and believed in everything around you. I have that faith thanks to you. I have faith, trust, and confidence in those in my life because of you. I still tend to fall backwards at times, but I get back up. It is as if you left me with a gift. Maybe you did.

I dreaded the day you would be gone, but it was not as bad as I had time to prepare. I was given the gift of being able to spend so much quality time with you the last five years of your life. I am so grateful for that. I thank God every day for those memories. Everything happens for a reason. You told me that more than once. The first Christmas, the first birthday, the first everything after you were gone was unbearable. I didn't even care about any of it. I tried my best to put on a smile, but it just wasn't there. I faked as much as I could to get through until I could just be alone. I was still numb. I think a part of me still is.

One of my favorite things about you was that you fully loved me unconditionally, you never gave up on me, you accepted me with my imperfections and faults, you understood me like nobody else, and always knew what I need to hear and feel. It was as if we never needed to say the actual words. That was a connection I cherished. Your compassion was unwavering. I could fall and fail, and you never saw it as that. You saw me for who I really was before I ever knew. You saw something in me that made everything seem better. The weight was always lifted with you. It was our own little world we built for the ours we spent together. It was our bubble. I remember every single thing about you from your laugh to your hugs. In fact, I sometimes still think I feel those hugs.   

The day I had to walk away from the cemetery it really hit me that it was over. You were gone and the story was over. BUT…the story was only beginning. I think you knew that. You had the biggest dreams and hopes for me. I plan on living up to those expectations. I can still make you proud Nonna. I will always make you proud. I thought I needed to hear those words from you, but I get that in so many other amazing people in my life, so I am not without it. I am not without so much love. I am not alone in your death as I thought I would feel. The days went by and it is a year already. I often can’t get certain images out of my head. I get lost once in a while, but I am good at locating that light in the dark now. I do what I need to do. There are some changes that maybe might not be what you wanted, but it is for the best. A death at times will cause ripples, but I believe those ripples are meant to happen at some point. I believe they happen when they are meant too for a better purpose. I learned to be patient, which we both know I was not in many areas. That calmness you had, I now have. I found parts of myself that I did not know where there. I was renewed in a sense. I found a reason to keep going when I felt like I wanted to just give up. Your voice in my head told me not too. I know that would disappoint you if I ever did.

You were always on my side. There was nothing to not adore and love about you. You were one of the most amazing women I have ever known in my life. I was so blessed to call you my grandmother and to have you in my life as long as I did. I can only hope I live the life you did and follow in your footsteps. Life for you was not about the big but about the quality. It was not about what you did not have. You felt that you had it all, and you were truly filled with joy. My memories will last me a lifetime until I one day pass it all on to my own children and they will to their children. Your memory will be alive for years and years to come. My thoughts will never cease when I think of you and the many, many years I had you in my life. I am not angry anymore. I know it was time for you to move on, and I would never want to see you in pain. I can only look forward. If I look back, I might fall back. People are not replaceable, so nobody will ever fill that void that you so lovingly filled. I am not even sure anybody can come close, but I can only have faith that my life will grow in abundance that you wanted for me. When it does…I will smile…and look up and think of you!

You live on in my heart and in my soul forever.


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