If you have experienced a great loss in your life, you know that most days are hard when so many things remind you of someone you love. When holidays and birthdays come around, it is another reminder that there is something missing. There is a place in your heart that cannot be filled. There is a place in your mind that forever wanders to the what ifs. What if this had been different? What could I have done? What if I could have a few minutes back to say what I no longer can?
When you lose someone close to you it can weigh heavy on your heart for some time. You never quite get over it, but they say time heals most wounds and you eventually see that you will get back to your life, but you will never forget. You will learn to laugh again, to smile, to enjoy your life because you are here. You are living and you are breathing and you must give that to those you love. You must honor them by continuing to remember them always and keep them close to your heart, but you must also live. Your loved ones would not want to you to give up, to stop trying, and to stop living. So you pick yourself up, you keep going, and you get stronger. There are the times though that you will remember them and you must look back and smile. You can cry, you can take a few moments to yourself, but you will eventually smile at the good memories you have. Whether you hear a special song, smell a certain perfume, or pass by an old house, these moments will take you back in time. Old feelings and emotions will come rushing back and you will be taken away to an old place, to relive a memory, to share a few moments with a loved one again. You may also experience dreams. You may be visited by someone you have lost, and you will appreciate these rare times where you get to see their smiling face again, and remember how you felt when you were with them.
For me, I have experienced one great loss so far. Many smaller losses in between, but a few years ago I lost an important person who helped shape me, who taught me so many things about life, and who loved me like no other; my grandmother. Today is my grandmother's birthday. We lost her to a devastating battle with cancer, and I miss her dearly everyday. I can't help it. Everything I do, everything I say, everything I am, is mostly because of her. My business is a direct result of the activities we enjoyed together when I was a child, my mannerisms are a reflection of all of the years I looked up to her and wanted to be just like her, my attitude, my style, and the activities that I enjoy are all reflecting more and more of her as I get older. It is amazing to see the impact someone has left on your life even after they have been gone for so long. You see how genetics come in to play, but you see how the little time you have with someone can make such a lasting impression. I spent most days of my childhood swimming at my grandmother's pool, or watching her write poems, or helping her with crosswords. We would watch scary movies together, (still to this day one of the only people who actually enjoys doing that! LOL) we would go shopping together, ( I still visit the exact same stores we used to together) and we would eat and share laughs. We liked the same foods, loved the same activities, and could spend hours together just me and her. Those were the days. Grandmas house was my happy place. From time to time, I get to visit it in my dreams, and it is the most calm I ever feel these days. I have these visions of someday doing what they do in the movies and knocking on the door of the people who live there now and asking if I can come in for just a moment. I know it won't be exactly the same, but to know that that place is where I have had some of my fondest memories, and it is a place where I can walk through blindly with one finger tracing the walls and know exactly where I am, is extremely comforting. Maybe someday I'll get the guts to try that one, but for now, I stay connected to my grandmother in other ways. I have a book of her recipes, a book of her poems, and an old crossword book she hadn't quite finished yet. From time to time I can go back and read these things, try these recipes, and fill in a few letters on a page to feel more connected to her. It's days like these where it is the hardest. To remember how old someone would have been, to think about what special thing you would have done for them on that day, and to imagine what one more moment would be like with someone you love.
I want to wish my grandmother Scarlet a very happy birthday in heaven, and I hope that she is proud of everything that I have accomplished so far in life. I owe a lot of it to her, and I am happy to have had the time with her that I did because I was forever changed by it. I love you grandma. 💕
P.S. Hold your loved ones tight, appreciate them, love them, do not take them for granted. Life is short, regret can last forever, and holding grudges only hurts you in the end. Let go of whatever it is that is keeping you from holding those you love close, and stay close to those who you have right beside you.