Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Heart and Soul Healing Moments After Loss

I have had a busy weekend and an even busier week with birthday parties, family coming into town and a funeral. Before I begin this post, I think I am finally ready to share with you who in my family we lost this past week. It was one of my grandfathers. He had been fighting illness for years and years. He is no longer in pain or hurting anymore. For this I am very glad but as for the rest of us in the family, the "survivors"... Man, I give major kudos to anyone who has ever planned a funeral (or even helped plan one) for your deceased loved one. Its a lot of work, and still being raw with emotion from the passing, can be difficult at times. I have honestly been doing good. But I have my sad points, like when I had to tell my sisters or Alan. Or when I had to make a display with all of his pictures from my childhood. Or at the funeral when all the guests were giving my family their condolences. Thinking about him back then when we were young v.s. now, hurts me a lot still. Natalie and I enjoyed so much of our time with him, we spent almost everyday together. He was healthy and he would play with us, tease us, help us feed his cat, tell us wonderful and magnificent stories. However, my younger siblings and my children, my nephew too, they were born after his health started going downhill. They only have memories of the hospital or nursing home, him being unhappy and not feeling well. This is the only thing I struggle with right now, I want him to be remembered for the amazing man that he was. I want the memories of him to be good ones. Maybe I am being selfish, but I want those who missed out on how great he was to really get the chance to enjoy it. To enjoy him.

Not that they didn't on their own. My grandfather was still a wonderful grandfather and amazing great grandfather, even in his final years. He loved Alan and Anna so much, even though he had trouble remembering Anna's name. He called her Brianna and I will still hold that name special to me. Because his love for them just cascaded from his whole body, like a bright light, every single time we visited him. He was always so excited to see us, so very happy. He would just sit and look at the kids sometimes, silently. Or he would have one of them come and sit on his lap with him, telling them crazy stories like he used to tell us when we were little while tickling them on the arm. Alan just adored his great grandfather, even though he didn't understand why he was in the current situation. And Anna, with her beautiful caring heart and soul, was never scarred of him or his beeping machines he sometimes had. She loved him fully too. My grandfather was an amazing person, he will be missed so very much. We love you so very much Grandpa!

Sunday was a busy day for us. Aunt Natalie and Benton came into town for the funeral and Anna had a birthday party for one of her little friends. The party was at Pizza Hut, somewhere I haven't been since before Lon and I started dating. We HAVE our pizza handled in this family lol. :P It was a great party regardless, we were happy to see all of our friends. Anna loved all the balloons and the birthday boy's smash cake. She wasn't too happy once she found out it was all for him to eat. What a goof! We had a great time at the party. It was a major healing moment for me as well, one of many that I would experience this week. Like I mentioned above, I have had my moments of saddness that seem to dwell on me for a period of time. If I knew what depression felt like, I would definitely say that this was very close. But being around all of my good friends and their kids, just happy that they were there for a birthday party, was very beneficial to my heart and soul. I needed that party before the funeral, really needed it. Thanks to Candace, Mark and birthday boy Dominic for inviting us. We are very glad that we came! Happy first birthday Dominic!

Alan at the birthday party, I couldn't for the life of me get a photo of Anna!
Another majorly healing moment for myself and my family was spending time with my beautiful, amazing nephew Benton. We haven't seen him in around two months now, he has grown up so much! I spent every second that I could with him, holding him, cooing at him, snuggling with him, giving him kisses on that sweet round head of his! I just love him so much! I don't know if I could have honestly gotten through the funeral without his sweet smiles and his little talks. Alan and Anna loved having him here with us too! Alan loves his little cousin and was worried about Benton's surgery, he was Benton's shadow most of the time he was here. And Anna was confused about why he was smaller then her and a little jealous when he would sit with Grandma Melanie but she enjoyed his visit. She did even sit with him and Grandma Melanie a few times! I was so proud!

Back to the day of the funeral, even though I still am stressed out and at ends about that day.

Worked on Grandpa's photo display most of the morning, put waaaaaaaay too much thought and stress into it. That was hard. I almost didn't finish the darn thing in time, but I did. Then I was a little late to the actual event because I had to drop of the kids with Lon. Didn't want them to be too sad. I spent most of the funeral outside the funeral hall, listening quietly by myself. It was too much to go inside. When I finally did though, Aunt Natalie and Benton were standing outside the chapel room, watching quietly. I spent the remainder of the funeral with them. Benton kept staring at me, looking back now, I think he was concerned why Aunt Jillian was crying. But I kept kissing him and touching his little arms, it made the pain hurt less. Thank you little man, you may have not understood what you were doing at that time, but you have helped Auntie in a way she will never be able to repay you for!

I am very happy with how the photo displays looked in the end though. And so was everyone else. I did get a ton of compliments on them, although at the time I didn't care too much. But I did make a point to take photos of them for my own memories and collection. I will share them with you on here, they were done very well. I want to also share the two photos I took from the morning that Aunt Natalie and Benton left. They are of Benton and I snuggling. That morning, I cherished every second I spent holding him while Aunt Natalie got ready. He really is an amazing little boy, just like my own children. I love him so very much. All three of these pictures are quite special to my family and I.

 It is hard going through a loss of a family member and the preceding funeral, but there are certain healing aspects of the funeral that need to be recognized. At least for my family, the funeral serves a purpose to bring the mourning family together to heal. It also allows us (sometimes forces us) to remember all the memories you shared with your deceased loved one. Even though there were lots of hard and painful parts of these past few weeks, there have been many important heart and soul healing parts too. Remembering my grandfather with all of his pictures; telling my sisters and supporting them through their tough mourning periods, thus bringing us all closer; seeing all of my loved ones and holding them at the funeral and wake; even, taking the precious few moments to personally say goodbye to that wonderful, amazing person who was my grandfather. All of those may have hurt a lot at the time, but they were necessary and definitely blessings in disguise.

"In the end these things matter most:
 How well did you love?
 How fully did you live?
 How deeply did you let go?”
-Gautama Buddha quote from the Dhammapada

We will always love you, Grandpa.

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