by Crystal Bay
I am having a very hard time expressing myself right now, I am in so much pain. My grandma died October 10, 2010. My whole life was turned completely upside down in just one week. It's such a long, complicated story...I had purposely avoided contact with my family and my grandmother. I was scared and insecure. Grandma could be hurtful unintentionally but she still called me and left messages on my machine, timidly telling me I was invited to Christmas or that she had found some pictures I might like to have and would I like to come over?
I am very sensitive. Growing up, I was pegged "The Favorite Grandchild", mainly because I spent so much time with her. I lived with her for a period of time when I was three and again for two years when I was nine and lastly, my whole junior high school years. So she was much like a parent.
Everyone in the family vied for her approval. She was very much the matriarch. I'm so wracked with guilt. I just couldn't bring myself to be around the family. I lost my Dad in 2000 and only received a phone call (No closure, really...In fact, I didn't even really deal with it even though I am still pained by his very untimely death). I was still in school and lived out of state. Then, in 2003, Grandpa died and all I got was a letter. But this time...It feels like three deaths all in one package. I can't sleep.
It's been a morbid family reunion, seeing and talking to everyone again after five years...only Grandma isn't here. I saw her on her deathbed. I walked over to her and held her hand and could hear my aunts crying and telling my friend who had accompanied me that i had always been the favorite grandchild. Grandma was told she had terminal cancer, spread all over her body, and had maybe two months. It turned into two weeks right after that. As soon as she came home, she was dying.
I saw her for the first time the last day she lived and am so haunted by that image of my beautiful grandmother, so independent, wasting away, unable to speak or open her eyes. The rattling, the smell...I can't stop crying. I have horrible, horrible thoughts I can't get out of my head. I have never dealt with death before and now, I feel thrust into having to. I spoke to her but wasn't sure what to say. People say they can hear you even when people are in the last stage of life, but it's hard for me to have faith in that. It's hard for me to have any faith.
Right now, it's one in the morning. I have to work tomorrow. Well, I said I was coming back Saturday. Seven days is supposedly enough time. The whole family was around, my Aunt Kathy was here, the funeral was Thursday and...well, that was it. Now, I'm home, the family has gone back to their immediate families and I am here in my den, writing, like everything was before the death, the reunion, the funeral, etc...
Oh God, I wish He would help me. I am physically hurting. It feels unbearable. I am scared that I will break down at work because of course, people will ask me questions or offer their condolences. Anyways, I have been breaking down at random times of the day anyway. I was looking for clothes for work and I just started crying. Yesterday, I couldn't sit still, I couldn't just sit there and do normal things. It was the first day that everything had finally sort of "settled down", if that's what you want to call it. I just feel like a ton of books keep being piled on top of an already unstable table.
The happy memories I had with Grandma make me feel worse at this point. They make me cry. They hurt to think about. Ones I had forgotten pop up and I cry, even if I'm at the store, just picking out a bottle of water and some food...Sometimes, the tears feel trapped in there, like they can't come out, and I wish they would because the pressure builds and my head literally feels like it's losing oxygen. I get kind of dizzy, like my head is swimming. I hate it. I hate this whole situation. Part of me feels like people don't think it's as big of a deal as losing a parent or spouse. There's actually something in my employee handbook about time off for grief, depending on your relationship with that person. How ridicules is that?? Grandma was like a mother to me in many ways. I love my parents, but Grandma took such good care of me. I miss everything about her. Baking cookies, our after-dinner walks, our weekly visits to the yogurt shop for our "minis", shopping, going to the movies, reading my stories (I've loved writing since I was little)to her while we sat in bed together.
I am scared to go to sleep because then I'm alone in the dark with my thoughts. That heaviness in my chest sits in for the night. The nightmares begin. I keep thinking about how when my Dad and I lived at Grandma's when I was nine, we all used to eat dinner together at the table every night and that horrible thought comes to me, that terrible loneliness that they are all gone. All those people at that table are gone and I am sitting alone.
I am a private person and I am nervous about returning to work because I feel like I have to act normal and I don't know if I will be able to. Some people get uncomfortable around others with loss. The last time I was at work, it was the same, normal stuff. Now, I don't feel like that and I feel my personal feelings are exposed. I hate sensing people's awkwardness and especially, having co-workers see me cry.
I am rattled and anxious and scared and all those things. It hurts so much. It hurts worse than ever. I hope the pain ends soon, at least this excruciating pain. At some point today, I felt like I may never recover. I am clinging to sanity. I am actually scared that I will fall to pieces and never be repaired. Having never dealt with the deaths in my life and isolating myself from my family because of my own personal insecurities and problems was easy but I guess in doing that I have just filled my emotional closet way too full and I have no choice but to rearrange the mess that is my emotions and my life.
I guess that's all I have to say. It's nice to have a place to share with others who know how I feel. Everyone's pain and situation is different but I guess we're all here because we need the same thing.