The Beauty of Grief

May 30, 2011 by    Posted under: Life

My beloved Grandmother passed away two days before I left for London. It was not a surprise and in many ways a relief as she had been confined to a bed in a nursing home for nearly three months. Yet the timing of her passing meant that I would not be able to be at her funeral.

My Grandmother was one of the most important people in my life and we have always been exceptionally close and I’m finding it difficult to truly believe that she is gone from this earth. I still see her in her kitchen, reading her paper even though she hasn’t done that in months. I still hear her voice on the phone even though she hasn’t had a conversation with me on a phone in months. I didn’t see her being lowered into the ground, I didn’t hear the Rabbi speak of her life, I didn’t share the sadness with my family and her friends at the memorial and so I don”t quite know how to settle into the place where I know she is no longer playing bingo in Philly.

Doris, my Grandmother was one of the most resilient people I’ve ever known. She always knew how to pick herself up, dust herself off and really move forward and not look back. When she made up her mind to do something, to get over something, she just did it. She was born and lived in the same 10 mile radius her entire life. She and my Grandfather ran a successful bagel shop and they were very well known in their community. Yet, when my Grandmother was 80, she decided to move two hours south to Philadelphia, leaving all she had ever known behind. She never second guessed her decision, never looked back, never felt sad about moving. She decided to do it and that was it.

I’ve never known anybody to be able to so clearly let go and move on and I don’t know how she did it. I sometimes wish I had her strength to let go. I’m very good about not second guessing my decisions but I don’t really know how to let go of the sadness or whatever it is I am leaving behind. I asked her once about how she did it and she said, “I don’t know. You just do it.” That was my Grandmother “You just do it.”

When I think of my Grandmother now, in meditation and in prayer, I feel she is truly gone. She died and she moved on, no lingering, no holding on to what she has left. When I sit with her in silence, I am overwhelmed with a feeling of happiness. Her happiness. She is grinning from ear to ear being carried away by my Grandfather and she is waving at us from over his shoulder.

I am finding so much beauty, not just around the sadness, but within the sadness of her passing. I grieve for myself, that there will be no more marathon phone calls, no more postcards to send, no more games of Scrabble, no more hugs. But she is happy, she was the last one of her generation to pass and now she is reunited with the love of her life, her siblings, her parents, her friends. Somewhere within this sadness and beauty I hope to find closure. But until I do, I will continue to write postcards to her in my head, just in case she can read them wherever she is.

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2 Comments + Add Comment

  • Love you, B. I still don’t have closure from Jeff’s death, but what I discovered is that the sadness faded and what was left was his memory and presence when I least expected it. I had to find a way to move on even though I could not fully comprehend or accept his death. I think my mind made a space to hold my feelings for him, as complicated as they were. In some ways, just as your grandmother did, I just had to move on. One day, that will happen for you. You’ll know when you’re ready.

  • Love to you and for you. Thank you for sharing your experience with Jeff and for your support.

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