Happy Birthday, Grandma

Today is my grandma’s birthday. I knew it was coming and every year I get a weird feeling about it because I miss her so much.

I have honestly never missed someone like this. I have had really close relationships with all my grandparents, who practically raised me, so I consider them more parents than anything else, but my grandma Leslie was the person I was closest with and her passing was both shell-shocking and earth shattering to my life.

She died just over 2 years ago on January 17th. I was pregnant with Elle when she passed away, which made it SO MUCH HARDER. I didn’t even know she was a girl when my grandma died. I saw her about 2 weeks before she passed away and that was the only time she saw me pregnant.

My grandma was diagnosed with cancer on 10/17. When she told me, she said it would only be a season in her life. I agreed with her. She was so healthy, so vibrant. This cancer had a high success rate of remission so I wasn’t even that worried about her. It only became more evident she was not going to make it late in the game. We went from thinking she would survive to overnight realizes she was not going to make it.

The day before she died I got to talk to her on the phone. She couldn’t say anything back to me. I told her that I wanted to come down from NE and she told me not to come, not to worry. She died later that night and I was woken up at 6am by my sister telling me she was gone. We had planned to drive down to Wichita that day. I missed her by just a few hours.

I still hurt so much from this loss. When something good happened to me in the past, I would immediately call all sets of my grandparents or text them and let them know what was going on in my life. To this day, there are moments regularly where I just want to text her and tell her about something that happened, and I am reminded that I can’t. It’s been 2 years. I figured I would be further along in the grief process than I am right now. I can’t even type this out without crying.

This hits me a lot with Elle. I send my family videos pretty regularly to keep up with her and I have never been able to send one to my grandma. When everything went down with Elle’s birth, I didn’t want anyone there more than my grandma Leslie and she wasn’t. When I was in the hospital, hardly able to communicate and heavily medicated, I remember distinctly feeling a hand on my hand. I was hallucinating and I could feel my grandma there with me. I swear it felt so real. So, so profoundly real. It brought me so much comfort, real or not.

Sometimes this feels all consuming. I’ll be driving in the car and it’ll just hit me. I cried on my way to work every day for over two months solidly after she died. Even today, I have tried so hard to busy myself so I don’t have to think about it and when I go home to Wichita, I wish I could drive back to her house and see her, but she’s not there anymore.

It hurts. This is the type of pain that never goes away and because it has never lessened, I don’t think it’s ever going to. I truly feel robbed by her passing, I think because it was such a surprise to me. When something comes up and people give you good odds, like 95% odds, you just assume everything will be okay. You don’t think you’ll find yourself in that 5%, because it’s just such a small percentage. Someone has to though. Someone is that 5%. My grandma is that 5%.

Grief is such a strange animal. I am not an outwardly expressive person when it comes to my feelings or emotions, but I distinctly remember walking into the funeral home the day of her funeral and trying to walk down the hallway and I just couldn’t. I had to turn into another room and I bawled inconsolably into Ryan’s shoulder. That feeling has never gone away.

I know I am lucky to have had her in my life. Everyone that knew her was, and I mean that very genuinely and not as a generic statement that many people say. She really did try to leave this world better than it was when she entered it. I think of her always. I cannot seem to get over the sadness I feel about her never meeting Elle. The robbed feeling I get when I think of how I desperately wish I had any pictures of her with Elle at all because maybe it would make everything easier. That I wish I even got to tell her Elle was a girl and that she was getting Leslie as her middle name in honor of my grandma. I never got those things. I missed them by almost 4 months exactly and that is too close to feel like I wasn’t robbed.

Sometimes I have to drown myself in this self-pity and sorrow for a minute just to feel it so I can get up and continue on with my day to day life. I’m not one to wallow, but it’s necessary with this on occasion. My heart hurts and you can’t heal it. All you can do is talk about it and keep moving forward.

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