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My Thoughts on Loss and Grief


rebecca plotnick by iheartparisfr

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.

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  1. Oh I am late to reading this, but I feel compelled to join the chorus as someone who was lucky enough to have her Gram be her "person". My Gramma was the person who loved me the best in my life. She was my biggest cheerleader, knew all my secrets and never judged. And when she died I thought, "wow, I will never be loved like that again".
    And then, 10 years later, I had my son. And that same intense love that I thought would only be a memory came back in a new form. I am forever grateful to have that experience twice in one lifetime.
    I’m so glad that you had a lovely grandma that you think of often. (And my 2cents, wear the ring even if you aren’t engaged. You can look at your hand and remember her, even when you’re doing something mundane like washing your hands, turning the page of a book, or taking a picture.)

  2. What I’ve discovered after 30ish years without my Grams, also my person, is that the tears of pain at the loss ultimately morph into tears of joy in the remembrance. I have a strong feeling that your Grandmother would be insanely proud of you and the lives you touch with your gifts, Rebecca. Oh, and don’t be too hasty to reconfigure her ring…stay on your path and true love will find you.

    A huge fan,
    Missy Lamb

    • Thank you, Missy! I have to hold out for love and the ring when the time is right. I know she would be the biggest fan of the blog.

      Thank you for sharing your Grams with me too. It sounds like she was a very special lady.

      xo
      Rebecca

    • Thank you so much, Missy! I will have to be patient for the ring and love. I am sure my Grandmother would be very proud. I love the way you put it so beautifully, "tears of joy in the remembrance" I am sure your Grams was a very special person too 🙂

      xo

  3. How fortunate you were to have such a wonderland close relationship with your grandmother, who you and loved you in return. Not everyone has that kind of love in their lives. Cherish it and hold it in your heart always.❤️

    • Thank you, Kathleen! Her memory is always alive with me. She was such a special person and I will carry her with me wherever I go! xo

  4. Rebecca, great memories of your grandma. I was blessed to have an awesome grandma too! My grandma was so nice I thought all grandmas were nice and I was completely shocked when I met a crabby one!!! Keep that ring intact. You will wear it proudly like grandma did!
    I enjoy your Paris stories.

  5. My grandmother passed away 2 weeks ago and I miss her more than words can say. Like you, my grandfather was in the Navy and my grandmother still had the old photo he left with her when he was deployed. I miss my grandmother so much. I appreciate and find comfort in your words. Thank you for sharing!

    • Hi Edyn,

      I am so sorry for your loss! It takes time to heal from a loss, take as much as you need. Keep her memory alive with stories and the photographs that she left you. Sending you good thoughts as you heal.

      xo

  6. Rebecca..Such a beautiful story about your wonderful Grandmother. I didn’t have a close relationship with mine, however I loved her and remember how cozy her hugs felt to me as a child. I have lost a child and the grief and sadness never ends….We do go on with our lives. You have made an amazing life for yourself and no one would be more proud that you Grandmother…Thanks so much for sharing and adding so much to our lives…A FAN..xoxo

    • Dear Sue,

      I am so sorry to hear that you lost a child. I can’t imagine what you must have gone through and continue to deal with. I was very lucky to have an amazing grandmother and her memory will always bring me comfort. I hope your child does the same for you. Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to comment.

      xo
      Rebecca

  7. Thank you for sharing your story about your grandmother. My grandmother passed away 15 years ago and I still think about her everyday. She was essentially my mother since she raised me. My fondest memories are of the two of us going downtown every Saturday for a day of shopping at the large department stores and having lunch in one of their in-store restaurants. I passed that tradition onto my daughter who is now 25. What better way to bond then over lunch and shopping.

    This is just my opinion, but I would keep the ring intact and wait for the love of your life! He (or she) will enter your life when you least expect it. It would be so special to wear your grandmother’s engagement ring and follow in her footsteps of having a happy and loving marriage.

    • Thank you, Denise! Your grandmother sounds like an amazing person and you are so lucky to have such fond memories of your Saturday shopping days. It is the little things that end up meaning the most to us! It sounds like your daughter is a very lucky girl.

      I feel a bit like Charlotte in Sex and the City when she says, "I have been waiting since I have been 15, where is he?" Dating life is not easy these days but I still have hope the right person will come along and I cannot wait to wear that ring proudly!

  8. Thank you for sharing part of your family’s story, Rebecca. What a special bond you had with your grandma! I am so happy she found the energy to tell her childhood stories in the notebook you gave her. I am a big proponent of knowing (and honoring) one’s roots – and staying close to family. As I prepare to relocate to my homeland after more than two decades stateside, this is a topic close to my heart 🙂 As for the ring, may I suggest you get it fitted into a piece of jewelry you will enjoy every day? What better way to honor your grandma’s memory? À bientôt. Veronique (aka French Girl in Seattle)

    • Bonjour Veronique,

      Thank you so much for reading my story. I had no intention on writing it down but it just came out while sitting at the computer. She was an amazing lady and I am so lucky I was able to know her and keep her in my heart. Now my readers know a little about her too which is an amazing thing to share. I hope the move is going well for you. I am keeping up with your FB posts. We will have to meet for coffee when I am in town next. Keep in touch!

      xo
      Rebecca