As many of you know I lost my grandma to pancreatic cancer in February. Everything happened very quickly. We had exactly one week with her after she was diagnosed. Only a few of those days was she completely lucid. After losing her so quickly, I had no idea long the entire goodbye process would be and how many goodbyes I would have to say.
I quite literally said goodbye to her the night before she died. I knew I did not want to be there when she passed. My mom and my aunt were by her side until the end. I don’t regret my decision. I was able to tell her goodbye and that I loved her when she was briefly lucid enough to put her arm around me.
I said goodbye at the funeral. And the burial where we laid her to rest with my grandpa.
Then, it came time to clean out the house with the rest of the family. We cleaned out the attic and discovered all kinds of treasures. It was a family project and in some ways it was kind of fun.
I discovered my grandma was a bit of a shutterbug with quite the affinity for Polaroids. And the vintage camera collection I’ve always dreamed about starting was built.
My grandparents always fostered my creativity. As illustrated by my old BeDazzler machine and one of many original acrylic paintings.
And of course we found some of my grandpa’s favorites – novelty boob items and Cubs memorabilia from the 60s.
While that was fun, today was somber. Today, I sat in the living room of her empty home while a company emptied out her remaining possessions. Seeing her home piled onto a trailer is not something I want to remember.
I wanted to think that this was the last of the endless goodbyes but I know that it isn’t. We got through our first Mother’s Day without her, but there will still be her birthday. Thanksgiving. Christmas.
And even when time has healed us, we can never truly say goodbye. There are still times and milestones when I think about my grandpa and wish he could have been there to see it. Sixteen years later. But even when it hurts, it’s better than the alternative – not remembering them at all.
Because I wouldn’t trade my memories for anything.