Thursday, May 16, 2013

A different kind of grieving.

My Nana passed away on Monday morning.

I've been trying to figure out how to write about this and even considered not writing about it at all. To be honest, I'm feeling a little conflicted and I've been trying to figure out how to put that into words. The thing is, this is my space and I use writing to help me sort out my feelings, so I need to get it out and move forward from there.

I mentioned in a recent post that my Nana has been battling cancer on and off for several years and chose to stop receiving treatment. I was able to visit her a few weeks ago to say goodbye and Monday morning, her suffering finally stopped.

This is certainly not the first death of a loved one I've experienced, but it is certainly a different experience than the others. With the others, I didn't have the opportunity to say goodbye, to prepare myself for what was coming. I don't know if being able to say goodbye makes it any easier to cope, but I do know that I'm grieving in a very different way.

See, over the last few years, my Nana hasn't really been my Nana. Her health issues and circumstances really took a toll on her spirit. She distanced herself quite a bit from my family and I'll never forget calling her for a birthday a few years ago and being so sad after hearing her so grumpy. This wasn't the Nana I knew.

It's been strange the last several months, knowing this was coming any day. I know my dad and his siblings have been trying to prepare, to be there and still lead their daily lives knowing this was coming.

My dad and his siblings didn't have the best childhood. I know in the last few years especially, my dad's relationship with his mother was a little tense. See, my dad speaks his mind and he's always had her best interest at heart. She didn't always see it that way. I don't want my father to look back and wish  he had done anything differently. He tried his best to be there, to help, to reach out and speak up out of concern for her.

I love my Nana and always will. Dealing with the loss of a family member, no matter the circumstances, is heart breaking. It would be crazy to say that I don't feel sadness and a sense of loss.

I do.

It's just that I'm feeling so much sadness for my dad. I worry about him and how he is coping. I just want to hug him and have our whole family together because I know that will give him strength.

If I'm being completely honest with myself, I have to admit that personally, I feel an enormous sense of peace and relief.  I've been struggling with this all week because I don't want to come across insensitive or cold-hearted for feeling this way. I think when we lose someone we love, we feel like there is a certain way we are expected to react and a certain way to grieve, but I'm realizing it's okay to "live in joy."

Her suffering is over and I know she has finally found peace. I know my dad and his siblings will come together, move on together and begin to let go of any tension between them. We can all focus on the happy memories and reminisce about the times she made us laugh without realizing she was doing anything funny. We can focus on the joy she brought us, the memories, the card games we played. We can all start to heal and move on with her in our hearts.

I'm realizing it's okay to focus on this and to feel peace. I wholeheartedly believe my Nana is in a better place and it's okay to feel at peace, to feel relieved on her behalf.