Grief is something that you cannot truly understand until you experience it. As a kid, I heard about grief in class, but was unable to comprehend that feeling. I heard about the grief my mother fought through when her mom died but was unable to understand how she felt. I would think about my parents one day dying and cry. Until this past June, I never grasped the concept of grief. Let me rewind a bit before the event of late June. My grandparents had flown out to Seattle to watch my cousin perform her last choir concert before she graduated high school.
She preferred this over them coming for her graduation. My grandma, at the time was already frail, and in hindsight I think they should have drove out there. Alas, they flew out, watched my cousin sing her heart out, stayed for a while to enjoy the sights of Seattle and eat dinner with my cousin’s family, and then they came back home. Tremember the day after they got back home very well. It was a normal summer evening, my parent’s and I sitting on our couches and watching TV. The house phone rang, so my dad got up to get it. My mom and I looked at each other confused. No one ever called our hose phone.
He came back into the living room and handed mom the phone saying, “I can’t understand the medical lingo. You talk to her. ” It wasn’t till after my mom hung up the phone that I figured out who was on the phone. “Maria says that Mom’s blood-oxygen level was really low earlier and that her usual treatment hadn’t helped,” my mom explained to us. It had been my aunt calling about Grandma. “Mom was too stubborn and thought she would be fine if she ate and rested a while,” my mom went on, “Maria eventually convinced her to get into the car to take her to the emergency room.
She’ll call us again later with the actual diagnosis. ” We learned, through a mass text from Aunt Maria the next day, that Grandma had contracted viral pneumonia along with a super bug that had been going around. For the next two weeks, she had a tube down her throat because she couldn’t breathe on her own and she had dialysis going because she was unconscious most of the time. When she was awake, I don’t think she recognized my grandpa, her husband. My parents and I went in to visit her sometime in the second week. I remember the medicinal smell that blasted us as soon as we entered the ICU.
We waited a minute for Grandpa to notice us. He told us we had to put on a scrub like covering over our clothes, latex and a mask. As I entered the small room, I took note of the many machines she was hooked up to. As I looked over to her on the bed I didn’t really even recognize her. Her face and hands were swollen from all the fluids they were pumping into her, making her usually skinny and frail body look different from what I was used to. I didn’t even really want to touch her, but I grasped her hand anyway. “Please get better, Grandma.
I don’t know what I’d do without you,” I pleaded, not knowing if she was able to hear me. We stayed a little longer, taking to Grandpa, before we left. She stayed this way, fluctuating from getting a little better, to getting a little worse until June thirtieth. It was a normal morning, me getting to sleep in because it was one of my few days off from work, my mom in the other room working from home like always, and my dad off working for the Metro-Link. So, like I said a normal day that any other year would have meant nothing and I would have gone about my day when waking up.
However, I woke up on this morning and instead of turning over and going back to sleep, I looked out the window. I saw my aunt and uncle’s truck parked on the other side of the street. Then the doorbell rang. I knew they were either here to tell us she had gotten better, which was highly unlikely as she had improved for a day but then declined again, or that she had gotten much worse. I raced down my loft bed’s ladder, skillfully avoided my stuff scattered about my floor and raced to the hallway.
I met my aunt in front of the office door where she was already telling my mom the news. I’ve told Dan to come home from work. I want him to hear it from me in person rather than over the phone. ” I knew something bad had happened at this point because my aunt told my dad to come home. “She took a turn for the worse last night, and then this morning,” her normally calm voice was cracking. “She’s gone. ” All I remember is repeating that no this can’t be and sliding down the wall. Tears already streaming before my bottom hit the carpet. The pain taking over me, feeling like all my insides had become lead. The worst part was seeing my dad break down crying when he got home.
I have never seen him cry before these past two weeks happened. I would give my body and soul over to never see him cry again. The pain of losing her was immense from the start, especially while wondering if she was going to make it and hoping she would pull through. However, it got so much worse on the day we go the news. While growing up when I asked my mother about when she lost her mom, and if the pain ever went away, she would always tell me that it never went away, but that the pain became easier to bear as time goes on. That some days were better than others.
However, I can tell you that half of that is true. The pain is still as bad as it was on day one, but some days are better than others. Most days I go without thinking about her at all, but the others I think of all the things she’ll never be able to do. Like walk me down the aisle or have greatgrandchildren. I dread when June comes now. In the week after her death and before her wake and funeral, I tried my absolute hardest to get off for those two days, because even though I had told my manager I needed off those days, she still scheduled me.
I remember sending her a text that said “You scheduled me for Tuesday and Wednesday and I’m not working because it’s my grandma’s funeral and wake”. All I could think was that no matter if she managed to get someone to cover me or not | wasn’t coming in and she could fire me if she wanted to. All through the wake, between having people come over to my family and I and express their sorrow, I avoided going over to the casket, I couldn’t look in it and see her. I didn’t want it to be final I guess.
My mom eventually came over and convinces me to go up to her. It was the worst feeling in the world, I barely recognized her, I guess death does that though. Her face made up but I could still see how pale she was. It was so weird, if I didn’t look at her face, she looked the same as she always did. It was just her face that changed. The next morning was the funeral. My brother, who had managed to come home from his training for the military, my father, my uncle Pat, my cousin Kat, my grandpa, and I were all pall bearers.
I struggled picking up the casket and carrying it, but I knew my grandma would have wanted me to help carry her to the church. Christmas Eve was also hard. We were at midnight mass and both my dad and I broke down. “Did you want to switch seats with me? ” Mom whispered. I simply nodded and slid on the pew after my mom stood up. “Grandma was the best mom in the world, but don’t tell mom I said that,” I whispered to my dad, hoping to cheer him up a little. It brought a small smile to his face for a brief moment before it fell again. Nothing I could say would ever take his pain away.
It hurt just knowing that I couldn’t help. My dad is the strongest man I know, and seeing him cry broke my heart, almost as much as losing my grandma did. The next day we got a call from my uncle Pat saying that he too had broken down in church My uncle Pat is the second strongest person I know, him having been in the army much longer than my dad had been. Knowing they are in pain was like knowing how to fix a bike, but not having the correct tools. I wanted to be able to take their pain away, not knowing how. My grandma was someone everybody loved.
She helped anybody she could, and was one of the first people to volunteer to help poor or in need people. She helped with Room at the Inn, which is a temporary shelter for homeless women and their children regardless of the child’s gender. She did many other things with her church that I still don’t know about. I loved my grandma, and the grief and pain of losing her shall stay with me to the end of my days. Grief is not something easily explained, and unless you have gone through the loss of a loved one or a beloved pet, it’s hard to comprehend.