First and foremost, I want to make sure that you understand that you are not alone. At the time being, that may not be a comforting feeling. You’ve lost someone incredibly important to you and it feels like the world is crashing down around you. I get it.
I may not be in your exact situation or know exactly what you’re feeling right now, but I’ve been there. Almost 11 years ago, I lost my grandmother. Though I was only nine years old, she was my best friend. She spoiled us endlessly. I remember countless nights when the grownups would go out and we would cuddle in bed watching movies and eating way too much junk food. This year will be the year that I have been without her longer than she was with me.
While thinking about this saddens me and hurts my heart, it’s also one of the most comforting feelings in the world. Sounds weird, I know. What’s important is not that she hasn’t been with me for the past 11 years, it’s that she’s been looking over me in a whole new way for the past 11 years. A lot has changed over that course of time. With each milestone I think about how much of an influence she has probably had over my life. There have been multiple times that I stop and think of what she would say or do in the situation. I think about whether what I’m doing would make her proud.
Memories have started to fade, but I am consistently reminded by my father and his siblings how much of a loving and gracious person she was. This idea inspires me every day to be a better person. It inspires me to live in a way so that when she’s watching me from heaven, she’s thinking “wow, I am so proud of the young woman she’s become.” Her memory makes me a stronger, more courageous and more resilient person. Until the bitter end, she fought for herself, her husband, her children, and her numerous grandchildren. She was selfless, brave, and consistently put family, friends, and strangers above herself. As I live out my life day to day, I live with the hope that I can be half of the person she was. Because of this, I am a better person.