Most people have felt the sharp sting of loss. In many cases it's sudden, abrupt, and the pain cuts through you, numbing you to all other feelings. I have felt it time and time again. It is the worst thing in the world to lose someone you love. At age 14 I would have sworn I needed time to prepare, to say goodbye, and then it would be OK. To know it was my last time seeing that person. To get a chance to hold their hand. To say I'd see them again. To be fully aware when it was time to let them go.
Today? I can honestly say it makes no difference. The knife still stabs through your heart. But instead of a happy memory of the last time you saw them, you have the days of wondering if this would be it. The years of not knowing if they'd make it to the next holiday. The dull ache of watching their memory fade and shatter. Sometimes you feel your heart is being slowly dulled to caring, but a slight glimmer of recognition, or a smile at the face of a great-grandchild is enough to remind you that you still care.
For my whole childhood my grandparents lived less than a block from my house, and 6 years ago we moved so that my aging grandmother could live with us. I got a first hand look at the slow and steady progression of aging and dementia. And this summer, she peacefully passed away. It was not sudden. No shocking news, simply the end of a life well lived. 85 years, yet it still seems too short.
I never thought that I would miss the hard things, having to help her with simple tasks, but I would gladly do it all over to have my grandmother back. She was a wonderful woman, the most generous lady I have ever met. Her gentle spirit comforted and nurtured us. Her love of flowers, books, sweets, and stuffed animals made a trip to Mamma's house any child's dream.
Not sure why I felt like writing this today. Some days it just hits you I guess. The reality that they are gone. That you have to wait for heaven to see them again. That they won't be at your college graduation, or your wedding. Never hold your children. All of my grandparents were amazing people. And I miss them all at different times. Its the memories that get me most often.
And then I realize that I have so many wonderful memories. To miss someone you have to know them. To lose something, it had to be yours to start. And they were mine. Wonderful, fun, loving, and memorable. But only mine on loan. Placed in life as grace, not something I deserved, not something I "ought" to get back, but a gift, a blessing. And I am so so blessed to have had them in my life. But I must say, I am looking forward to Heaven, where I won't have to miss them anymore.