Monday, January 13, 2014

My heart hurts

I'm so tired of being sad. I've spent so much of this year sadder than anyone should ever be.

And now, after spending almost exactly one year mending my pulverized heart, it's breaking again. One of my favorite people in the world, one of my biggest inspirations to keep going, has left us. My gram passed away somewhat unexpectedly last night.

It seems unfair that the sun rose again this morning without her here to see it.

It seems almost callous of the world to keep turning, the city she worked her whole life in to continue being busy, the family she created to keep their routines and everything to continue on like there isn't a giant, gaping hole in the universe.

It's a cruel injustice that a woman who has more than earned every miraculous sunset, every twinkling star, every hug and kiss, and every breath of air, has had it all taken from her. We get to stay and witness the everyday miracles she's earned. We get to live lives she created for us. We get to reap the rewards of her suffering and perseverance, while she becomes a memory. 

Such is the life of a mother.

It's difficult to remember how happy she probably is right now, being reunited with her mom and dad, brother and best friend. My human heart and human mind has trouble keeping an eternal perspective when they've both been mercilessly assaulted with thoughts of what could have been, what I should have done, what will never be. I know I will get to see my gram again, but it seems so far away. I want to hug her now. I want to hear her voice now. I want her to ask me to do some chore to help her now. I hear her calling my name in my head, and I hope I never forget her voice. 

There were so many years when she was my only motivation to keep going. She was my only advocate to my parents. She was the one who tried everything (underhanded or not, lol) to get us to move back to Boston. Her only goal was not selfish, it was to bring the family she fought and worked so hard for back together. I cannot imagine the days she had to endure single handedly raising four kids while her husband wasted away slowly, I'm glad she lived to see her girls back together again. It must have been so wonderful to accomplish that goal that was 23 years in the making. In fact, her doctor said she should have had heart surgery many years ago, and that she was a ticking time bomb for years, so I firmly believe the miraculousness of the extra years she was granted was solely so she could complete her goal. A mother's love for her babies defies all.

It's been 12 hours. My heart feels like it will never be the same again. In a way I'm glad it won't be. It means she had a profound impact on me. And when it comes down to it, my "I wish I would have"s are mercifully few. She lived a long life. She didn't suffer. She wasn't in pain when she passed. Her entire family was gathered around her in love and appreciation. It was a tragically beautiful thing.

So much of who I am is thanks to her. My stubbornness, my sweet tooth, my chin dimple, my posture (stand up straight!), my sense of humor. More than I could possibly list in a blog or in stories to my kids. I guess that's another sadness: that I will never be able to fully explain how awesome my grandmother is to my children. They will hear stories of her like I heard stories of my great grandparents, but they will never get to truly appreciate what a fantastic and amazing woman she was. It's hard for me to imagine their lives being full without her in them.

I know she's watching us from heaven, happy that we used such a tragic time to come together in peace and happiness. I know she's learning why the bad things that happened to her had to happen, and it's all making sense to her now. I know she's feasting on all the drakes and Lindt truffles her now perfect pancreas can handle. I know she's happy. 

My last words to her were "I love you and thank you". All night long I tossed and turned wondering if that was enough to say to a person that did so much for me. It seems too simple. But 12 hours later, after listing in my head every little thing I could have said, it all comes down to the same thing. 

I love you, gram. And thank you. For everything.


  1. Sending love and prayers your way and hoping that your head and heart are filled by the love that surrounds you from coast to coast. Loss of an inspiring and loving example is devastating, but as you said, she is there in how you choose to live your life and at the core of who you are. Your children will know her through you and the many stories that you'll tell and the traditions that you will keep. She sounds like a truly worthy and wonderful woman and a loss to more than just her family. Love and prayers to you!

  2. That was a really beautiful tribute, Alana! I am crying! I am really sorry that you lost her, and I hope you can continue to "remember her voice". I very much get that. After one of my grandmothers died my uncle distributed a video of my grandparents answering questions about their lives and I bawled when I saw it not just because it is invaluable, but I felt like I was forgetting things about them. Hang in there, I hope you can feel peace at this hard time.


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