Memories

The Small Beauties of Grief

Yesterday marked one year since my grandmother passed away.

In a way, it feels like the year has gone by so frighteningly quickly, as I can remember the day she died, as that overused phrase goes, literally like it was just yesterday. In another way, however, it feels like she’s been gone so much longer than a year, which may be even sadder. I reflect on the time I had with her, the moments we shared between just her and myself, and I wish I could relive them all, especially the ones I can’t remember because I was too young. As time passes, those memories begin to fade, particularly those more distant ones, and to me that’s the saddest and scariest thing of all about losing someone you love.

Yet, although she’s physically gone from this world, she lives on in memories and all that she’s taught me, all the love she’s shared with me and my family. She’s always in my heart and in the back of my mind. Her legacy lives on through her daughters, my mother and my two aunts, through my grandfather, who’s undoubtedly lonely, but still living his life the best he can, and through her grandchildren: myself, my two younger siblings and my cousins.

To me, it’s funny, and beautiful, in a way, how grief has the power to bring people closer together, even if it’s only for a short time. The day of my grandmother’s funeral was a gorgeous, warm and sunny day. I remember that day perfectly as well. I remember the emotions, the little instances of sheer love expressed between my family members: my father wrapping his arms around my mother in a powerful embrace as she started to break down, me wrapping an arm around my youngest cousin’s shoulders as she quietly sobbed while staring blankly at the ground, my eldest cousin, turning to me and giving me praise for the eulogy I wrote, which my aunt read wonderfully, and then gently cupping her hand in mine and holding it for a while, my younger brother and I hugging during the part of the mass when we offer one another a sign of peace, and me spontaneously saying “I love you,” and him replying, “I love you, too.”

And then, there were quiet moments I had that day, reserved just for me, I suppose, since my grandmother had once said it herself that I was special: hearing a clear, sharp chirp outside after the mass was over, but not seeing a bird anywhere in sight, envisioning my grandmother sitting in a pew across from us, smiling brightly at me and blowing me a kiss, telling me to, “Tell Mommy I love you,” lightly running my fingers along the gold plated letters of my grandmother’s name, smelling cigarette smoke without seeing anyone smoking outside later that day as my cousins and I sat out in the warm sun outside of the restaurant, enjoying the simple beauty of a lovely end-of-the-summer day.

Those little moments are ones I’ll always carry with me in addition to all the happy memories that my grandmother’s life and sheer selflessness instilled in us all. Her love keeps me strong, and she’s forever in my heart.

I love you, Grandma. ❤

-Ali

“Grieve not….
nor speak of me
with tears…
but laugh
and talk of me
as though I were
beside you.
I loved you so…”

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