7 years ago today, I lost my grandma. She was my best friend and the most amazing cheerleader. She was the person I called on my best days and on my worst days. She was my person. I know 7 years is a long time ago but it still feels like yesterday. I was with her when she passed and it is still something that makes me emotional. I don’t think there is a timeline for dealing with a loss. The best way I have dealt with her loss is by keeping her memory alive. As a family, we share stories and always keep her in our thoughts.
My grandma made the best eggs, always had room for dessert (chocolate of course) and loved hearing about my travels. After my grandpa passed away, I studied abroad in Florence. My grandma and I wrote letters back and forth the whole time I was gone, about once a week for four months. I think this distracted her while she grieved for my grandpa. She kept for years afterwards. She asked me before she passed if I wanted them and I told her to keep them. I really wish I kept those letters and the ones she sent me. I still have two of the cards she wrote me and continue to read them over and over.
I didn’t know much about my grandma’s life from her childhood, she didn’t share much. I gave her a book to fill out the year before she passed. It was one of those fill in the blank books with prompts. I kept asking her to fill it out and she told me she would get to it. About a month before she passed, I got the book in the mail. My aunt helped fill it out with her. It was filled out with stories of her childhood, motherhood, and her relationship with my grandpa. It was and still is one of the best gifts I have ever received.
I shared it with my family before and after she passed. It was such an amazing way to connect with old family and family memories I didn’t really know.
After she passed, I was able to reconnect with my aunts and uncles. My one aunt who lives in NJ tells me stories about my grandma while we cook in the kitchen. It is my favorite thing to do when I visit. She is an amazing cook/baker and we spend hours in the kitchen on the weekends. She could easily tell me the same story over and over about my grandma and I wouldn’t mind.
My other aunt is amazing in her own way. She loves to read books and we will occasionally read the same ones together. She follows the blog and reads the book club books. She is a yogi and such a positive and strong person. She is so supportive of the blog and my business. I really look forward to spending time with her when I visit home. It has been so fun seeing her interact and bond with my niece and nephew too.
While there will never be a replacement for the person my grandma was in my life, I am so lucky to have amazing strong women that support me.
I was left with three gifts after my grandma passed.
Her engagement ring. I used to ask to try it on every time I saw her. I have been waiting “patiently” for the day that I get engaged. She wanted a way to always be with me. While it has been 7 years and I am still single, I am thinking of turning it into a different piece of jewelry so I can wear it now.
My grandpa used to write letters to my grandma. Love letters. While he was in The Navy, her birthday, and their anniversary. There was a book she kept them in. I had no idea about this until after she passed. I scanned them all to keep them safe. I love opening this book and seeing the love they shared.
Reconnecting with family. It is sad that we didn’t know each other better when I was younger. But, we are making up for lost time.
While there is no timeline on grief and loss. There is a silver lining. I am lucky to have found mine.