Sunday, June 17, 2012

"There's no distance too far for a grandparent to travel"

On this Father's Day, all I can think about is family and that I am lucky enough to have a very close relationship with them. Yesterday, my family and extended family came together not only to celebrate Father's Day, but also to gather for the first time since the death of my grandmother a month ago. As I sit here today, I can't help but miss all of them already. My family is my support network, and I have learned that they are not to be taken for granted, remembering this especially in the wake of losing my grandma. As we all gathered at my grandparents' house yesterday, I couldn't help but miss her because she is still everywhere- in the dishcloths, in the salt and pepper shakers, in the lists still hanging from the fridge, in the wooden calendar she so diligently reset every month. A house seems less like home when you lose a member from it. We all walked around talking and laughing, but I couldn't help feeling like I was wandering. It seemed like a strange place even in its familiarity. Going through her old clothes, standing in her kitchen, watching my grandfather sit in his chair alone, it all felt wrong. Some family members commented that it felt like she had disappeared or evaporated. It felt like she was on a trip, as if she'd soon be back. I can't help feeling like I have no closure, but then again, when does one ever feel closure concerning the death of a loved one? 
Someone recently told me that the lack of closure is merely how death operates. You go through the initial mourning period and you think you're fine. Then in a few months it hits you again out of the blue and you are reminded that you have lost someone very dear to you, that person just isn't coming home. Then it might fade, but it always has the ability to sneak up out of nowhere and swiftly punch you in the gut or roundhouse kick you right in the heart. You never can escape the reality of death, and I think that is what makes it so scary. It has a certain power over all of us. We are all affected by the death of a loved one, a friend or an acquaintance; death has the power to control us and the power to eventually take us. That is a scary concept with which to wrestle. I try not to be to morbid here, but it is a fact that each and every one of us must face in time. 
When I think about the precious life that was lost, I still remember what I have left. When cleaning out the attic, my aunt found a folder with some newspaper cuttings in it. It was a clipping from a paper dating around 1997 or so. The picture at the top of the page was me with my grandmother. It was from grandparents day at school and she was planting a kiss on the top of my head as I smiled happily enjoying a piece of bread. I don't remember this picture or the event at which it was taken, but it made me simultaneously smile and tear up. It was a piece of her that was meant for me; it was a picture of us, just her and me. This was her gift that she left for me to have. It's hanging up on my wall right now, and I am thankful that it inspires me to smile every time because its message, her message, is all too clear. The title reads, "There's no distance too far for a grandparent to travel."


  1. When I was a kid, I didn't realize how lucky I was to know all four of my grandparents PLUS one of the great-grandparents and now that I am an adult and three of them are still living, it is a reminder that not only knowing where you came from but also being able to interact with your elders is a priceless blessing.

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  2. I completely agree with you Nicole. I grew up knowing all of my grandparents. Unfortunately I lost my Nana before I was ten and my Grandpa when I was in high school, but I am lucky enough to have memories of both of them. I appreciate my family every day and try never to take my blessings for granted.