The seventh anniversary is fast approaching as I find myself full of love and peace for the first time since her death. I am sad, and cry occasionally as memories flood my thoughts. Sad. Not overwhelmed with depression. In past years as soon as I remember that Easter is on the way I would become depressed and it would last for a few weeks after the true anniversary (April 10th) of her death. Depression that took the life out of me. Depression that made it hard to breath, hard to sleep, hard to do anything except feel sorry for myself and be angry at the situation.
I often thought how unfair it was that my best friend was sixty-two years older than me. How unfair that the only person to love me completely was taken from me. I was so angry as I thought about the timing of our lives. I would cry thinking how different it could have been had I been born earlier, if I had been able to have been with her longer. I thought about how alone I was in this world since losing her. I thought how I did not deserve love from anyone else and I did not want to find love because I never wanted to feel this kind of pain again. I disconnected myself from everyone, even my children. I did not want to ever feel like this again.
The journey through my grief has been a long, painful, devastating one. The road has been bumpy; but one thing never changed. One thing always remained the same; my Gram has never left my side. As in life, when ever I need her, she is there. She raised me with enough strength to get through the toughest obstacles. She loved me unconditionally, and this journey has taught me that love never dies. The love she gave me could not be taken from me. She loved me so deeply, so purely that it has become a part of who I am. That is a gift that can never be taken from me. After seven years, enough of the pain has brushed away for me to be able to recognize this gift. It was always there, and it was what kept me alive when all I wanted to do was die to be with her. It kept me moving forward when I did not know where my next step would take me. It was always inside of my heart, right where she planted it.
A lot has happened in the last seven years. There has been so much pain, so many accomplishments, so much laughter and so many tears. And up until recently, I looked at it with negative eyes and thought she has missed so much of my life and so much of my children’s lives. I see now that she has not missed a thing. She has been right there beside us the whole time. Wiping away tears, hugging our hurt hearts, and high fiving our accomplishments. That Jade ring she gave me the night before she died has been on my finger everyday, except while being repaired. When I look down at my hand I sometimes see hers and I am reminded we are never alone.
The kids and I have dreams where she visits. Alana and Jada swear they hear her tell them goodnight. We all miss her everyday. We all feel her presence. We celebrate her birthday and we talk about her to keep her memory alive. If you know me, you know my Gram. I talk about her often, and most conversations circle back around to her. She was and still is such an important part of my life. Her memory will continue on as long as those who know her are still alive.
The past few months have been some of the hardest, however they have shown me a lot about myself and the people in my life. Overcoming pain, reliving events that happened so many years ago and having a chance to do things differently. Depression came in and out. And for the first time ever I allowed myself to heal so much pain and look at things differently. For the first time ever I allowed myself to matter. I have worked hard the last few months to learn who I am and why I think and do things the way I do. I have given myself permission to learn to like myself. Loving is coming, but it is a long, long road. I have also learned to be able to receive love from others. I am working hard at believing that I am worth their love. I deserve love. I deserve to have that kind of love again. I know now that I do not have to face the world alone. I know that I am capable of loving and being loved. I also know that love is worth the pain.
I now can look at the love I received and gave my Gram as a gift. My anger and deep, overpowering sadness has turned into gratitude for what I was given. Some people spend their whole life looking for the kind of love she gave me. And although I only had her in my life for twenty-seven years; I had her in my life for twenty-seven years. It is all in how you look at it. I could have lost her eighteen years before, but I didn’t. I was given the gift of her love and guidance for as long as she felt that I needed her. She had enough time to instill in me all the values she felt were important. She taught me that I have all that I need inside of me, and most importantly she taught me to never give up.
I come into this seventh year grateful for everything that I was given. I am thankful that I will never be alone because I will always hold the love and memory of my Gram in my heart. I am thankful that I can see the beauty in the pain. I am thankful that I found someone who loves me as purely as my Gram did, and who did not give up on me when I tried to show him all the reasons that he should. I am grateful that I was given the chance to live the rest of my life loving someone who loves me as much as I love them. I am thankful that I understand that the love is worth the pain, for that pain is a pain like no other. That pain has the power to take everything away from you, but it also have the ability to give you all that you need. It is all in how you look at it. Embrace the pain and take what you need from it, just don’t let it take anything more from you.