Grandma, life is not the same without you: A letter to say goodbye

Subject: Grandma, life is not the same without you: A letter to say goodbye
From: Brandi
Date: 4 May 2016

Life is not the same without you. You were the glue that held us together and now all that you molded seems to be falling apart. My heart feels broken and no words can describe this ache. I miss you. You have been gone nine months but to me it feels like yesterday.
Is there a time limit for grief? Should I already be ok? I wish you were here to tell me things would get better. To lift my head and tell me to be strong for my kids and that you wouldn’t want to see me this upset. I wish you were here to tell me that you are having a great time up there with granddaddy and that you are so happy to be reunited with him. I know how much you missed him when he left this earth. I miss him too Gran!
I keep trying to remind myself that you are in a better place. That you are with Jesus singing praises and are filled with such love and peace. I get it, I really do. The thing is we are all still here. We are hurting. We ache while we try to empty your house. The house our family has known all of our lives. You and granddaddy spent sixty years there. That is a lot of memories to pack away. That is so much stuff to divide and attempt to get rid of. We are falling apart. How do you decide what holds value when everything is filled with memories? Those memories were what built our lives.
The pictures you so precisely hung on the wall are now packed away in boxes and your phone is disconnected. The rooms are almost empty and it’s almost time to let the house go. Do you know how hard it is to say goodbye? How do we just let go and walk away? Goodbye is so final.
You knew me better than most. You knew how I dealt with things, or rather didn’t deal with them. How I pushed things away to dull the hurt. I did that when you left. I felt the pain and hurt when I held your hand and you took your last breath. I ached, but then I just went through the motions. I did what I needed to do to move forward without actually facing the truth. The house was still there and somehow in my head you weren’t really gone. You definitely weren’t gone forever. Now here we are nine months later and you haven’t returned. You won’t return. You are gone. You are really gone.
I held on to the house and the memories it held. I didn’t want to let it go. Letting that house go would mean that I really had to let go of you and granddaddy. My grandparents. The only grandparents I ever had. I’m not ok with that. I don’t want to let go.
The last pieces of furniture are slowly making their way out the front door and my heart aches. My mind races back to a time and place when things were ok; when you were here with us. When we laughed and played and talked for hours. Where you taught me to love so many of the things I cherish today. Where you showed each and every one of us how very much you loved us and how important we all were to you. We know that we were your life, but I don’t think you knew that you were ours too.
You taught us to love; to really love. You taught us to love without conditions and to forgive no matter how hard it was. You showed us what it was to be selfless and to devote your life to taking care of others. You taught us more than you will ever know. I am so grateful for you Gran. I love you so much more than I ever could have told you. I want to scream it now. I want to scream to the top of my lungs so you can hear me. I want to hug you and hold your hand just one more time, if only for a moment.
I can’t though. I can’t hug you. I can’t touch you. I can’t see you, because you aren’t here. I can’t even say that out loud. I can’t think it without crying. See to me, this feels like yesterday. To me it feels like it just happened, because I didn’t let myself feel the pain when everyone else did. I pushed it back like I thought I needed to. I wanted to be strong because you would have wanted that. Now I am falling apart.
The days keep passing, but the ache in my heart remains. Every day that goes by we get closer to saying goodbye to your house. More boxes have been packed and the closets are now empty. Your clothes are all gone except for the few things we kept. Some of them still smell like you and for a moment I feel comfort.
Your house was always a safe place. There was nowhere I’d rather be. It was a place filled with love. You and granddaddy made that house a home and its memories are forever etched into our hearts. I think about all the times I sat in the den floor playing Barbie’s or coloring on the coffee table that now sits in my den. I think about the endless nights when I got to spend the night and we would stay up late together. We loved watching I love Lucy and Mary Tyler Moore on Nick at Nite! Do you remember how much we would laugh?
I remember listening to records with you and how much you loved Anne Murray and Bette Middler. I still know the words to most of those songs. The boys would laugh at me, but I’d smile and tell them it’s because of their great grandma. You filled their lives with such joy too Gran. Those boys adored you and you and you made a mark on their hearts too. You touched so many lives. More than I think you knew.
I remember going for walks with you, playing at the park, and swinging side by side in the backyard swing. I remember the way you would brush my hair and encouraged me in everything I did. I remember all those amazing family holidays that we spent around the kitchen table laughing so hard it hurt. Those stories we told and the memories we made I will carry with me forever.
I wish I could tell the world how truly wonderful you were. How special you made all of us feel, but most importantly how special you were to us. I thank God every day that He picked you to be my grandma. I don’t know a better person than you. I don’t know anyone so selfless and so caring. I can’t even put to words the amount of love you poured into each of us. Gran you really were amazing. You will always be someone to be admired.
You were so full of strength and dignity and your love for others overflowed. I wish I could be a fraction of the woman you were Gran. I wish I could be as selfless and caring as you. I miss you so much more than I can even say. I miss you every single day.
I remember the days right before you left this world. You were so weak and didn’t have strength to say anything. We would sit with you and hold your hand. We would talk to you or ask questions and you wouldn’t really respond, but the moment we said “I love you” you fought to say it back. You made sure that we all knew. No matter how hard it was you would always tell us how very much you loved us too. We knew Gran. We always knew how much you loved us, but I pray you knew how very much we loved you too.
The night before you passed I sat holding your hand. I told you stories about when I was little and all the memories we shared. You tried to say something but I couldn’t understand. I asked you if you said “home”. You shook your head nodding yes, but tried to say something else. I said “heaven” and you nodded with the sweetest smile. I knew what you were trying to tell me, but it hurt so badly. I tried to fight back the tears and I squeezed your hand and said “I know you want to go to heaven and I know Jesus and Granddaddy are up there waiting on you. Gran, will you be waiting on me when I get there?” In that moment you opened your eyes, squeezed my hand and with a huge smile you replied “I promise”.
I know you are there Gran. I know you will be there waiting on me when I get there. I know that one day I will see you again. I keep telling myself you are free from pain and dancing with our Savior, but the ache in my heart remains. I ache because I’m selfish, because I want you here with me. I remember all the stories you told me about the hurt you went through when you lost your daddy. You had such a hard time with that, so somehow I know you understand. You would tell me that every day would get a little bit better, so I’m waiting on that day. I’m waiting for a day that it doesn’t hurt quite so much. I’m trying Gran.
It’s almost time for me to let go Gran. It’s almost time to say goodbye to this house. I am going to have to hold my head up and walk away. You always told me God would never give me more than I can handle. That’s because He wants us to lean on Him for strength. I am Gran. I am. I wish it wasn’t so hard, but life is hard. I guess all this pain can be used for something good. It can change us. It can teach us. It can turn us into something better. It has changed me. You have changed me.
Thank you for your unconditional love. Thank you for loving me when I couldn’t love myself. Thank you for giving me more than I ever could have asked for. Thank you for taking care of me and for all the memories and moments we shared. Thank you for teaching me and laughing with me. Thank you for devoting your life to all of us. I love you so much Gran. I love you more than you ever possibly knew. I will see you again Gran and I know you will be waiting on me with open arms.

Love Always and Forever ,
Your “Princess”