26 August 2012

Loss of a grandparent

A couple of weeks ago, Hubby's grandmother passed away. She had been his last surviving grandparent and the only one I had had the privilege of meeting.

I met her fairly early on in my relationship with Hubby. I remember many things from that first visit: going fishing, playing checkers, her proudly showing me photos of the progress of the house she had not long finished building. Most of all, I remember her making me feel welcome.

What immediately struck me about her was that she was like no other old person I'd met before. Over time, as I learned more about her, that impression was reinforced. She was so active, with so many and varied hobbies: fishing, golf, painting, just to name a few. She took a photo of Hubby and I that day we all went fishing together and then did a painting of the photo. It wasn't quite finished, but Hubby's parents have just had it framed for us.

She had had dementia for the past few years so, in a way, we lost her a while ago. But learning of her passing was still so final.

I've experienced grief before. Three of my four grandparents are no longer with us, there was Pat, a great-uncle, as well as seeing up close my dear friend B's grief at the loss of her father a couple of years ago. Each time, though, it's different. Each life is unique and therefore each death is unique. Each person journeys through life in their own special way ... and then the people they leave behind experience their own personal journey of grief at their loss.

My grief at the passing of this special woman pales into insignificance compared to that of my husband. But I can't speak for him. For me, her passing brought to mind memories of times spent with her. It also brought back memories of others I've lost: using all my might to maintain my composure while doing a reading at my Par's requiem Mass at the age of 13, not being able to attend my Nonna or Nonno's funerals and struggling to find closure years later, the loss of an unborn child early but still so deeply felt.

For me, my faith is a source of great comfort and strength in times like these. I think that without it, I would feel desolate. With it, there is still such great sadness, but also a sense of hope.

It was hard telling the MissyMoos. MissyMoo2 (3) had no idea, but MissyMoo1 (5) did have some sense of what it all meant. We showed them photos. MissyMoo1 was sad that Hubby was sad.

We took a day off work/school to attend the funeral. The MissyMoos were angels - all three of them. It was nice that they were there - for them to see the family come together and for the family to see them, the next generation: new life.

9 comments:

  1. This is such a touching post. I understand loss so well having already lost my father, identical twin sister and brother. My twin died in 2008 and my brother in 2011. I can see that Mr. O's grandparent was a very special lady. My faith has also helped me during the difficult times. I am a new Follower of your Blog. I learnt about it from Flash Blog Friday. Take care.

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  2. This post was a beautiful commemoration for Grandmother O x

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  3. This post was a beautiful commemoration for Grandmother O x

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  4. that is sad. losing someone is always hard no matter what. so good you have great memories of her

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  5. You are so right when you say that grief is not only unique to each person feeling it but the grief we feel for different people is also unique. My grandmother passed away when I was 19 and it was the worst. 11 years later and I still miss her dearly. My grnadfather, her husband passed away onl a few years ago, but he also suffered from demntia and it had been quite bad the last few years so I know what you mean about having lost them before they actually passed. The grief I felt for Grandpa was different than for Grandma, for Grandpa there was also a sense of relief that he was finally free and finally with Grandma again. Grandma was taken well before she should have been, the dreaded cancer took her, and there was a very big feeling of unfairness about it. I think grief also changes with age and can be affected by how many close people in your life you may have already lost. I hope you can all find comfort in your memories.

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  6. I'm so sorry to hear of your family's loss. A beautiful post xx

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