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Saying Goodbye To Someone You Love

It’s never a good time.

No matter how much we prepare ourselves, it still isn’t a good time…

For the death of a loved one. 

For one week I struggled through emotions of knowing my grandpa was sick. What they thought was a bleeding ulcer quickly turned into what they found to be stage four stomach cancer.

For a week, blood transfusions kept him alive…until he finally said “no more, I’m done.”

Even at 96 and during that last week, my grandpa was still a stubborn old man (somehow that brings me comfort – knowing that even at the end of his life, he was still that stubborn old man I knew and grew to love more and more over the years) making his own decisions… even checking himself out of a Florida hospital, against doctor’s orders, to make the long 22 hour trip back to Michigan, where he wanted to spend his last days.

And even though I knew the end was near…I wasn’t ready when the call came in that chilly Sunday night.

It wasn’t time.
I wasn’t ready.
I didn’t get to say goodbye.
I was going to be home in a week, why couldn’t he have hung on just a little longer.
The timing was all wrong.

And while I’ve ‘accepted’ he’s gone, I’m still grieving and grieving the fact I didn’t get to say my goodbyes…

It’s never easy to say goodbye to someone you love, but how do you actually say goodbye to someone you didn’t get the chance to say it to???

I feel the guilt…

Guilt for not getting back to Michigan in time to be by his bedside.
Guilt I didn’t call, even once, in 5 months since I moved out West.
Guilt I didn’t spend more time visiting him when I was still in Michigan.

Some have told me guilt is part of the grieving process. Others have said to just let myself feel the guilt. Others have said there’s no reason to feel guilty at all… and I think they’re all right. I think it’s just a part of the process I’m going through.

As I go through old pictures, I find comfort in looking back on all the memories and how full of life my grandpa was. He really did live a long, fulfilling life.

Here’s one of my all time favorite pictures of not only my grandpa, but my grandma too and my son who was so little back then! 

 

Grief is such a weird thing.

This is a Facebook post I wrote, and wanted to share it here so I didn’t lose it…

Trying to do normal today and it’s just not happening. Went back to bed this morning, after not sleeping much last night and a massive headache from crying so much…slept until 10:30! Checked email but didn’t actually “see” what any of the emails were. Decided to make myself get out and go to the grocery store…only to break down crying talking to my dad. Thankfully passerbys let me have my moment as I looked at hamburger and pretended nothing was wrong. Got out of the grocery store, couldn’t remember where I parked only to find my car and realize I walked passed it THREE times and didn’t notice it until I hit the unlock button that last time and was greeted with the flashing lights as it unlocked.

(This is the part I really wanted to save – it was such a special moment for me): 

Then on my way home I burst out laughing and smiling, probably looking like a crazy woman to those next to me at the stop light, because my stupid gas light came on and my car started dinging at me. It immediately brought a rush of emotion and took me back many many years to when my grandpa “scolded” me for letting my car get so low on gas all the time and how it wasn’t good for the fuel pump in my car especially in the frigid Michigan winters (which he just so happened to be helping my boyfriend at that time, change…in the middle of winter LOL). And I just laughed and smiled all the way home as I drove with that gas light on and my car dinging at me as I thought about grandpa and how I bet he’s looking down from up above right now, pointing his finger and saying “Tishia, put gas in that car and stop letting it get so low!”

Anyway, it’s not often someone gets to live until 96 years old but my grandpa did and he was able to make all the decisions up until the very end. I’d like to think that’s a “gift” to get to the end of your life and still be ‘well’ enough and lucid enough to call the shots!

RIP Grandpa, you’ve left a big hole in my heart but an even bigger smile on my face that I was the lucky one to get YOU as my grandpa!

A friend sent this poem to me and it’s bringing some comfort… 

I’ll Be There
Unknown Author

There was no time to say goodbye
But this I ask – please do not cry
Remember me as you think best
The happy time – forget the rest.

Look for me and I’ll be there
And you will find me everywhere
In the gentle touch of breeze
That cools the skin or swirls the leaves.

In the scent and color of flowers
That gave to me such happy hours
On sunny days under sunny skies of blue
Just think of me, I’ll be with you.

In winter when there’s cloud or mist
The rain will give to you my kiss
As wood smoke lingers in the air
Look for me and I’ll be there.

Where seagulls cry above the sea
And surf rolls in so endlessly
Among towering trees that soar above
In all these things that i once loved
Look for me and I’ll be there
You’ll feel my presence everywhere.

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