I woke up yesterday morning like any other morning. Make a glass of hot water with lemon, do a little yoga with Cali, and then make breakfast with MK. Only, on my way to the kitchen yesterday morning I noticed a missed call from my dad and a text that simply said, “Hi Bri, please call me when you have a moment.”
I shudder. Tears start rolling down my eyes as I look at MK and tell him that my dad does not send text messages like this. This has to be serious news. But then I calm myself down and tell myself that he is probably just needing me to check on his house for a bill or something (he and my mom are out of town).
So I call my dad back. His news wasn’t pleasant, but he was so calm. He was so strong as he told me that his mother had passed away in her sleep that morning. My beautiful dad… I just wanted to hug him right then and there. He told me not to be sad and that we should celebrate her life. And we definitely should celebrate her life, with that I agree. But, that doesn’t take away the fact that I want to hug my dad and he wants to hug his dad. We want to be support and love for one another as each other copes. Nothing can make the pain of losing a loved one go away, but being in the arms of another loved one who genuinely understands and empathizes takes a little bit of the pain away if even for a little while.
I don’t have the luxury of being with my parents just yet, but that will come on Thursday. I found other ways to cope yesterday with the news. I was able to have moments of happiness and moments of sadness all in the same day, even the same hour. How does that saying go…. sometimes we get rain to enjoy the rainbow?! Somehow, it fits.
I am an emotional person. I cried yesterday at the thought of never seeing my grandma again on Earth. But on the flip side, I also smiled at the the thought of her not being in physical pain anymore or on any medications. I smiled thinking about how she was probably telling stories in Heaven. She really had a lot of stories… that woman was energy and personality! So many people knew her and loved her presence.
I choose to focus on the memories. They still bring up tears, but they also bring up laughter. I went on a walk yesterday for fresh air and literally had a “laugh cry”. I laughed when I remembered her bringing home funny Christmas gifts and then I cried realizing we won’t have her this Christmas. Then I laughed again remembering how she introduced me to her priest at her church, proclaiming that I was a saint who would never drink, smoke, or have sex. He then asked if I wanted to be a nun. I was, of course, mortified. And in college so I am not sure why or how she came up with those proclamations. I then cried realizing her birthday is today and she almost made it to her 84th birthday. But, maybe that is the irony… maybe God wanted her to be with Him on her birthday. Maybe birthdays aren’t that important after all. I dunno, I like to have reasons for things that don’t have certainties.
Anyway, all that to say, thank you for letting me cope a little more through words. Writing really is therapy for me at times. And before I sign off, I want to have a moment of open script.. a letter to her, if you will…
I love you with all my heart and soul. I have been blessed to call you grandma for 30 years now and I will never forget the memories that I have with you. You made life fun and have pizzazz. You have touched so many lives with your presence and energy. Thank you for the Peterson clan, “Mom Pete”. You and grandpa built a strong, tight-nit family that I am so proud to be a part of. I can’t help but think you are having a blast in Heaven, perhaps sharing stories with others. I hope you are giving your mother a hug right now because I know she meant so much to you. I hope that you are watching over grandpa and letting him know that he will be okay. And I pray that your love shines through each of us daily. Our memories will never fade. Thank you, dear grandma, for being you. Thank you for never being afraid to be yourself. Thank you for showing me that no one has to be a stranger. You could talk to anyone (or anything for that matter) and that is a beautiful gift that is not given to everyone. Thank you for being silly and allowing your grandchildren to make hilarious memories with you in them. I love you, grandma. I will miss you every day of my life, but when I miss you I will smile at your angelic presence and say a prayer for you. A prayer that you are blissful and joyful up in Heaven.
If you are coping with a loss this time of year, my thoughts and prayers are with you. It is always tough losing a loved one, but especially around the holidays when things are also joyful. It’s a mixture of emotions, but it’s okay to let yourself be happy in some moments and sad in others. We all cope in our own ways. My heart is with yours!