Thursday, October 6, 2011

Things I've Learned Recently

It's hard to believe my grandpa's funeral was already 2 weeks ago today. When you're grieving a loss like that {one where you didn't have a good relationship and you aren't entirely sure how to handle it or how you ultimately feel about it all}, time seems to warp into an entirely separate reality.

For a while, time seemed to go in super slow-mo. Then it zoomed by, and now I'm not sure where it went.

I've started multiple posts about the funeral, his death, what he was like, what our relationship was like, what God has taught me through this process... but I haven't finished any of them. They're tough to write. I'm still in the process of sorting through it all and getting back to normal. I'm also not all that sure it's interesting to read, but I want to get it put out there for others to help learn from what I've learned, and as a journal of sorts for myself to refer back to.

For now though, I think it's easier to do a bullet-point list of scattered thoughts:

* After losing the second grandparent on one side of the family, it's amazing to feel the sense of loss and the end of an era that floods the family - grief hits a whole new level

* Looking through the houses of two sets of grandparents in one weekend for stuff of theirs you might want that you remember from childhood is just too much for any one person to handle - I nearly had a nervous breakdown

* Missing fall TV premiere week for an entertainment junkie like myself just isn't as big of a deal as you thought it'd be when you're grieving and spending precious time with family

* Missing a friend's bridal shower and a special free preview of the now-released Courageous movie really saddened me, but being with family members {some of whom I hadn't seen in 20+ years} really brightened my life - it reminded me of what's really important

* Years and years of family turmoil and tension doesn't just go away because the main person who caused it has passed away - it just throws wrenches into the grief and tension at the gatherings, the doubts and lies that were distributed around, and adds to the stress and exhaustion of an already difficult time

* Despite my 5 year old niece Cayley sometimes being jealous of baby brother Josh now that she's no longer the baby of the family, watching her interact with him, feed him, being willing to change him, etc, was super, duper sweet!!

* Watching my 8 year old niece Olivia grow up into a beautiful, talented, older version of herself was really amazing! Watching her concern over the funeral proceedings and everything that surrounded those tough days, was remarkable.

* Having car problems in the state of Illinois isn't as bad as it could have been. Turns out I know people all across the state. And my hubby, dad, and brother were all attentive to my needs and ready to come get me at the drop of a hat if needed. Thankfully, it wasn't needed, but I'm glad I felt relatively safe.

* Watching 7 men stare over my car's hood after a long 6+ hour drive is both humorous and awful. So thankful my dad and brother immediately met up with me in the AutoZone parking lot, and that we spontaneously ran into Aunt Sue & Uncle Mike there! Hadn't seen them in way too long.

* Feelings of stress & exhaustion get overridden when you get to see so many family members showing up to pay their respects

* The feelings of numbness that come with grief & uncertainty when facing an open casket turn into a flooding of tears when I see that half of the flowers given were by people who specifically know my brother & me

* Nothing calms you quite like the giggling of a 4-month old

* All my fears & anxieties get erased when my nieces come running up to me with huge smiles... and later tears when they realize my good night was an actual goodbye

* My near anxiety attack at the funeral was thankfully thwarted when my dear aunt sat next to me, and later we shared a special moment of consoling

* Absence indeed makes the heart grow fonder. I've been fairly open and real about the hard times in our 11 year marriage, so let me just be real again here... after lots of arguments and stress prior to Grandpa's death, going away for 6 days and only getting hubster for 2 of them {work was crazy so he could only take off 2 days, drove down 1 morning and back the next evening} made me miss him sooooo much! I'm so thankful for Tim!!

It really is amazing all the things you see, do, and feel during a time of loss. As I've been learning, no matter who it is or what your relationship with them was like, loss is always hard and you need to allow yourself time to properly grieve.

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