Editing & Processing

We’ve been back from our trip to Washington for a few days now and I’m still unpacking. No, not the suitcases…I was on top of that this time. Instead I’m sorting through the multitude of memories and emotions that I’ve brought back from this particular trip to my home state.

This first trip with Silas.

The first visit with no possibility to see Grandma.

The last few days of my brother’s life as a single man.

Courtesy of photobucket.com

In the weeks leading up to our trip I knew I would experience a roller coaster of emotion. I recognized that there would be times of grief and joy, and that frequently those emotions would be vying for attention simultaneously in my head and heart.

No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. ~ C.S. Lewis

That first week was hard; harder than I expected it to be. Everyday I experienced moments of pain and loss that would leave me wrecked. Granted, I was also exhausted and hormonal from being 3 weeks postpartum and traveling. I thought that I had gotten over the worse of my grief months ago. But this was new, this hurt on a deeper level. I was no longer numb to the idea of my grandma being gone. Instead I recognized that life was moving on – babies were being born, people were getting married – and I didn’t want that to be the way it worked. It somehow made it harder to be present for all that she was missing.

Laying out by her pool and barbecuing in the evening, just like I’ve done so many summers past. Driving her car, which greeted me with a wall of her perfume each time I opened the door. Going out shopping for something to wear to my brother’s wedding with my mom, a trip that she would have eagerly joined us on. Eating at a restaurant we both loved and always shared the Chicken Dijon. Introducing Silas to everyone and knowing that she would never get to hold him.

The pain I feel now is the happiness I had before. ~ C.S. Lewis

The loss seemed fresh. Instead of the almost 3 months that have passed since her memorial, it seemed like just yesterday I was sitting in her bedroom and holding her hand. As I walked through the house I kept expecting to see her around the corner.

Circa 1980

A box of photo albums sat in the guest room at my mom’s. My brother was putting together a slide show for his wedding, one of those photo montages that show the couple as they grew up. Suddenly there was album after album of old pictures to look through. I found one I’d never seen of my grandma and I when I was a baby. Turning pages from the past was therapeutic, one of those grief and joy combined moments.

The most interesting part of that week? The relief I felt in my grief. It’s good to cry and to mourn with others. Looking into my grandpa’s eyes and seeing the ache that’s there for his wife was hard, but comforting (in a weird way). Talking with my mom about the feelings that overwhelmed me, feelings I thought I’d already dealt with, helped.

I know I’m not done grieving. Her birthday is next week. There will be other milestones and events throughout the remainder of my life that will dredge up that sense of loss and sorrow.

Yet I am comforted…

If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, and the light around me will be night, even the darkness is not dark to You, and the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You.” Ps 139:11-12

Because it’s never too dark for God to see me and bring me back into the light.

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12 thoughts on “Editing & Processing

  1. Thank you for sharing Melissa. Tears poured down my face as I read this post… tears of compassion & hope & pain & joy. My heart aches with you & rejoices with you. Be blessed my friend. I know that the Lord is with you & life with Him is beautiful. Thank you again for your posts. When I have read them, I feel inspired & renewed by the hand of God in your life!

    • You encourage me so much with this comment! Thanks Janel! I was hesitant about posting this because I didn’t want to be too heavy. But it’s where I’m at and that’s what this blog is for. Yes! Life with Him is beautiful. He knows us intimately and we can perfectly trust that He has our good in mind.

  2. I wasn’t home when my grandma died. My family did most of their grieving without me. When I bring it up, because I want to talk about it, they turn it off, ever-pragmatic. I am sorry for your loss. I miss her for you. I know what it is.

    And on a side note… my baby pooped on me this morning. I thought of you. Thanks for the warning… ;-)

    • What a comment! I was feeling all sympathetic for you and the situation with your grandma…and then BAM! I was completely caught off guard by the poop. :) Thanks for the laugh, Kelly.

  3. I recently went to the wedding of my sister. It almost feels like you are losing them. I appreciated this post. Praying for you.

    • Thanks Duane! Prayers are always appreciated. I’m gonna post about my brother’s wedding tomorrow. It does feel a little weird to know he’s married now, but I really like his wife (wow! First time I called her that).

  4. I miss Grandma too. :(… I feel like it should be harder since I live here in the constant reminder that she isn’t here. And when I am trying to find a certain pan or remember what books I’m allowed to read out of the office is when I realize she isn’t a room away and I can’t make her find stuff for me.
    I was also sick a few weeks before she died… and she tried taking care of me making me tomato soup…”with milk not water… it makes it taste better.” No Matter how bad she was feeling she always wanted me to feel better.
    The hardest part was cleaning everything out. The closet… and the bathrooms… and that stupid closet by the back stairs… It got better after that. :/
    But then you get to see Grandpa… and no matter how happy he tries to be he is the hardest thing to look at… I think thats the worst part… It’s like looking at my Mom all over again after Dad died.

    • I can’t imagine having to be there for those first few weeks when everything was in transition! It was hard enough for me a few weeks ago. :( But having to see her stuff be cleaned out and the permanence of what it meant would have wrecked me. Grandpa did wreck me. Every time I talked to him we both cried. I’m so sorry you’ve had to deal with this situation twice in such a short time. You know Grandma would tell us to just trust that God can and will get us through it though. And He will…

  5. We just got back from 3 days in Cle Elum with Grandpa. He mentioned Grandma once, but he seems happier over there, I think because he is used to her not being there. Once I even heard him spontaneously say, “Life is good.”

    What I’ve been doing is, when I think of Grandma and start to feel sad, I try to think of a happy memory. I don’t want the only memories to stick to be of her sick and dying.

    • I agree, I think he is happier over there. He said it’s when he gets in the car to drive home that he gets sad…because before he used to drive home thinking about all the things he and Grandma would do once he was there. Thankfully, the memories that came to mind when I was in Washington were good: laying by the pool, going out to eat, shopping, talking with her downstairs. We have a lot of good memories with her… :)

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