I’ve always turned to writing as a way to cope. It’s always been my path of choice for staying grounded, to make sense of my thoughts when they seem to be all over the place.
But I haven’t really been able to write since losing my grandma.
I was incredibly close to her, and it’s a loss that I will feel deeply for the rest of my life. Of course, I feel fortunate to have had almost 27 years with an incredible woman who has been there for me at every twist and turn. I’ve traveled with her to Europe and Disney world. I spent countless Sunday afternoons at brunch with her just talking. I have the wonderful memory of my grandma being at my wedding. There wasn’t anything or anyone in my life that wasn’t shared with her.
On June 15th, my family lost this amazing, beautiful woman to a stage V, inoperable Glioblastoma. With no cure or safe course of treatment, our only option was to heart-wrenchingly pray that her suffering wouldn’t go on for months.
I think its hard to put into words how difficult it is to find that fine line between wanting someone to remain in your life for as long as possible and wishing that their suffering would just end peacefully.
I broke down one night to my husband after I started thinking about all of the things, big and little, that I wouldn’t be able to share with her. Buying our first home, finding a new brunch spot, discovering a book I thought she’d love, having children. That last one stings because I always envisioned that she’d be a part of my life and my family’s forever.
It was my husband who reminded me that we’re at the point in our lives when we’re going to start losing a lot of the people who have helped shape who we are today…and our responsibility is to carry on their legacies and pass them down to the family that we will one day create.
Loss doesn’t mean that someone isn’t still with us…I’ve come to realize that my grandma is with me in everything I do. She’s with me when I get dressed in the clothes she’s bought me…when I serve dinner with the silverware she passed down to me…when I read a book she recommended or simply smile at the thought of her. And she’ll be with me when I create my family and I’ll pass to my children the lessons she passed to me.
My grandma was the type of person who truly lived her life. She worked hard, yet wasn’t afraid to be silly with her grandkids. She traveled and experienced a world outside of New York. I’ll always remember the map hanging on her wall with tiny white flags representing all of the places she’s traveled to. Each time I visited, more and more of her map was checked off.
Her legacy reminds me to live in the now and to choose adventure over fear. To see the world and value present moment experiences. It reminds me that life is something to always smile about. Even through the hard times, my grandma always had that beautiful smile on her face, and that is certainly something I will never, ever forget.