The Post I Wrote Through Tears

By Katie, 7:20 am

I just wrote a very thoughtful, organized post about handling grief. It had bullet points and everything. But then I deleted it.

Because the truth is that I’m not thinking in bullet points right now. My feelings can’t be summarized in list form. Three years ago today my grandma passed away, and the subject simply isn’t lending itself to well-formed sentences and properly-defined paragraphs.

I just keep thinking about that night when I knelt beside her medical bed and said goodbye, kissing the skin on her forehead that had become paper-thin from the draining cancer treatments.

Just writing that sentence brought on the burning sensation behind my eyes, and now I am typing through tears.

But I’m OK with that. I’m tired of not acknowledging her memory because I don’t want to start crying or make those around me uncomfortable. I’m tired of pretending that time heals all wounds.

The truth is that I miss my grandma, not in a wistful, contemplative way but rather in a coarse, heart-splitting way. The truth is that my body feels like lead, like I could just crumble onto the floor, whenever I think about her swift downward development – from diagnosis to passing away in a little over half a year. The truth is that sometimes falling apart feels so much better than keeping it together.

Yet through it all I can’t deny that there’s a certain element of peace. Peace because I truly believe she is with God, while simultaneously she’s also still here with me.

She’s here every time I play a song on the piano that she taught me.

She’s here every time I eat applesauce, which never holds a candle to her homemade version.

She’s here every time I reach for Dave’s hand while we’re praying in church, which I learned from watching her reach for my grandpa’s.

Right now, as I’m swimming through the memories, I am suffering through what can only be described as gut-wrenching pain. But honestly, that pain is tinged with the joy and celebration of a life lived with compassion and love. It’s shimmering with the knowledge that my grandma lives on through her impact on me.

I will always love and miss you, Mamaw. ♥

35 Responses to “The Post I Wrote Through Tears”

  1. It sounds like you and your grandma were incredibly close, and that’s a beautiful thing. You have wonderful memories of her and I have to believe that she’s with you every day and she’s so proud of you.

  2. Simply Life says:

    I’m so sorry to hear of your loss- she sounds like a truly amazing woman.

  3. Laurie says:

    Hi. I am new to you. I like it here. I live in Northern Virginia, sort of neighbors.
    I look forward to reading more.

    • Katie says:

      Thanks for stopping by, Laurie! Your thoughts and comments are always welcome here. :)

  4. Bubu says:

    That is a beautiful post. I think it is a testament to how deep a relationship you had with her that you mourn so deeply now. I commend you for fully experiencing that grief, and not trying to downplay or escape it. Mourning is a necessary part of life, of celebrating something precious that we’ve lost, and experiencing that loss fully so we can find closure. I’m not saying you need to stop or move on, but fully experiencing her loss is a part of your love for her. And it also sounds like you appreciate and honor what a blessing her presence in your life was, which is beautiful.

  5. christina says:

    This was so sweet and beautiful. I’m sorry for your lost but glad you have your memories. :)

  6. Love and light to you, Katie.

  7. Wow, Katie, this is a beautiful post! I also lost my grandma to cancer, and we were incredibly close. I’m so sorry for your loss.

    It is incredibly painful. But I think it’s wonderful that you’re keeping her memory alive by writing this post and by living out the lessons she taught you.

    Thank you for sharing this with us.

  8. Nicole., RD says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I haven’t lost that many people, but my only living grandparent is 88 and not doing well, suffering from Alzheimer’s among medical problems and has been bounced all around from hospital to rehab and back again. It’s so hard :( *hugs*

  9. What a heartfelt post. I have no doubt your grandmother knew the love you held for her. And she helped shape the wonderful woman you are too.

    I love how you reflect that its okay to feel that hurt and let it out. I agree that sometimes it is the best thing we can do.

  10. McKella says:

    You’re right, emotions don’t always work in bullet points. I’m sorry for your loss. This is a wonderful post and I’m glad you shared it with us, Katie.

  11. Lisa says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. :( That’s how I felt when my Grandpa died. It was a punch to the gut. I am really close to my Grandma too and she’s 95 years old…I hope she’s around for a lot longer because I will be a wreck when she goes. :(

    • Katie says:

      A punch to the gut – that’s the perfect way to describe it, Lisa. Sending the best to your Grandma!

  12. I’m so sorry you’re hurting so much, Katie.

    I lost my grandmother 3 years ago, too. She met my husband once, and never did meet my son. That makes me so sad, but you know what I always think about? When I was pregnant, I found out that if I had had a girl, the eggs that would someday be my grandchildren would have formed while I carried her, and that always fascinated me. I think it’s so neat that the egg that became me was created while my grandmother carried my mom. It shows how much we really are tied to our grandmothers, and we are an extension of them just as we are of our mothers. I guess maybe it’s a weird thing to think about, but it makes me feel not-so-removed from her. I hope you feel better, and that you know that (as someone posted above) there is not doubt that your grandmother must be extremely proud of the woman you are.

    • Katie says:

      Wow, that is really fascinating, Wendy. What an amazing way to think about it. Thank you for sharing this!

  13. Too often we tell ourselves we “should” be at X stage of grief (or other emotions), we “should” feel this or such.

    Reality is, we feel what we feel, when we need to feel it. Sometimes with my losses, I am braced for an onslaught of pain at a certain holiday or anniversary, and… I’m fine. Other times, it ambushes me in the grocery store as I’m reaching for a can of corn, and I’ll start boo-hooing right in the middle of canned veggies, and you know what… that’s okay.

    Regardless of what we believe about “what comes next,” it hurts to say goodbye for the rest of THIS life to somebody we love.

    • Katie says:

      Amen. Perfectly stated, and it’s exactly what I needed to hear today. Thank you for your support.

  14. I found your descriptions of what makes you remember your Grandma so poignant and real. Thank you for modeling how to just feel your feelings…as it is just one day away from my father’s inurnment and memorial service, I keep asking myself, how many times do we have to say goodbye? As many times as we need to…in the past several days I have found myself crying randomly, as well as laughing. I went through a particularly rough patch over a month ago and then for a while I was rather “blank” and wondering, when will it hit me again? But there’s something to be said for not labeling the feelings as either good or bad…they just are and the more we lean into them, the more “okay” (note, I didn’t say “happy”) we are. Big hugs Katie!

    • Katie says:

      Thank you, Karen! The notion that there’s no right or wrong way here – no right way to grieve, no wrong way to mourn – is so important for me to remember. Also, I re-read your post about your physical pain and fatigue being connected to your grief, and it was a great reminder that sadness is more complex than the narrow way we usually define it and expect it to manifest in our lives.

  15. Julie Parker says:

    Really beautiful words Katie. Your Mamaw does live on in you for sure. Many hugs to you.

  16. Awwwweeee, I know how you feel! My grandma passed away a few years ago. I remember waking up one morning and finding my mom in tears. I was a little confused, but when I heard, I was in shock. I was so close to here, and then she was gone. But I know that your grandma is with you today. She is with you wherever you go. I know she loves you and only wants the best for you. :)

  17. Chris Rankin says:

    Katie, thanks for your words and most importantly for your permission to grieve. As one who deals with this on a regular basis, I am frustrated when people think that grieving only lasts a few days. You show us that it lasts for a while. As I read your wonderful tribute of your grandmother, I thought of the close relationship I had with my own grandmother, who died on December 25, 2009! Thanks Katie….wonderful words as always!

  18. Katie,

    I’m so glad that you deleted the post with the bullet points! This post, with its raw honesty, is one of the best descriptions I’ve read of grieving in a while. The way it sneaks up on you, the intense physicality, the joyful memories or habits that sneak in and mellow out the pain. And I’m always excited to find great examples of feeling our feelings–there’s so much power to be had in that choice. Thank you.


  19. [...] of all, thank you for your incredibly kind words on yesterday’s post. Your supportive comments mean so much to [...]

  20. Cammy says:

    This is also The Post I Read Through Tears. Grandmothers are so, so special. My nana helped to raise me after my mom escaped from a bad marriage, and she has been my hero ever since I can remember. I’m sure your grandmother cherished you every bit as much as you do her. I know it’s hard to lose people, but it sounds like she was an amazing person to have had in your life, and people like that never truly leave us. <3

    • Katie says:

      Thank you for these beautiful, supportive words, Cammy. Your nana sounds like a truly amazing woman.

  21. Cara says:

    Hugs to you and thankyou for sharing with us- your grandma has certainly helped to shape a very talented and inspirational woman!

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