A Strange Lonliness

>> Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I grew up a little today... quite unexpectedly. My grandmother, my dad's mother and my last living grandparent, died last night.

Both my grandfathers died before I was born. My dad's mom did remarry and I knew and loved him as my Grandpa my whole life until he died when I was in college. My mom's mom also died when I was in college. Growing up a military kid, we lived all over so I saw my grandparents once or maybe twice a year, if that. So I would not say that I have ever been super close to my grandma ("Grams"). But we occasonally talked on the phone and traveled to California to visit. I tried to be faithful to send pics of the boys. And I loved her.
And now that she has gone to heaven to be with Jesus, I feel strange. Yes, sad but also grateful because she had Alzheimer's and is now herself again. Also admittedly a little jealous because she is now in the presence of Jesus and probably holding my little Micah's hand. I do hope they found each other. No matter what your theology of heaven tells you, I know that my grandma and my first born are worshiping Jesus together tonight.
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My Grams with Lucas in June '06

But this strangeness I feel surprises me a bit, catches me a little off guard. As I process this news and sort through the emotions of it, I feel inexplicably lonely and isolated. As I said, I didn't see her that often. But now I have no living grandparents and that feels strange. I am no longer anyone's granddaughter. I am daughter, sister, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, mother, niece, cousin.... but not granddaughter. I just grew up a bit.

My parents both told me that everyone would understand if I didn't make it to California for the funeral. It is a week until Christmas and I have a 4month old. But I feel the need to go. Not really to see my family, though that will be nice. Not to make an appearance. I am going to validate a relationship that is significant to me, to my boys. I am going as my way of saying that I loved her deeply and treasured her role, even if somewhat limited, in my life. I am going because she was my grandmother, a woman who I am forever connected to and thus my boys are too.
She was a strong woman who survived two husbands, a son, a grandson, a great grandson, and her beloved dog. She loved to play video poker and slots in Vegas and smoked like a fiend. But she was tender and genuine and very much a part of me. She loved the color purple, ice cream, and anything with dogs. It has only been in the last few years that she stopped sending me sweatshirts with puppies on them for birthdays and Christmas. She always sent cards for mine and hubby's and Lucas' birthdays even in the throws of Alzheimer's. It was like the last piece of her that always remained in the now. I made her a quilt a few years ago with squares for each person in our family and she displayed it proudly on her wall. Right next to the picture I cross-stitched for my grandpa when I was barely 9 or 10 and all the family pictures she had collected over the years. I always found it funny to see pictures of Lucas displayed right next to a picture of me from 2nd grade.
I moved up on the generation ladder today. There is only one above me now. And that feels strangely lonely. I wonder how my dad feels, being at the top of that generation ladder now...

I grew up a bit today. She is my history, a piece of my heritage. And I will miss her. I already do.

6 comments:

TwoSquareMeals December 18, 2008 at 2:37 PM  

I'm so sorry, Farrah. Have a safe trip.

Melinda December 18, 2008 at 4:59 PM  

Hugs to you Farrah, it's hard to lose a loved one so close to the holidays. I know she is in Heaven and now you can find joy in knowing that your precious Mica has his Great Grandma to cuddle and care for him.

I understand what you mean about moving up on the heritage ladder. I have one Grandparent still living at 97. I know that when she passes I will likely have similar feelings.

Have a safe trip and enjoy the time with your family.

Hugs
Melinda

Katharos December 19, 2008 at 11:44 AM  

So sorry to hear about your loss.

It is a strange feeling - I was old enough to attend two of my great-grandparents' funerals and serve as a pall-bearer in one.

I'll keep you in my prayers. Rejoice in the fact that she is with Micah and can bring some of you to him.

Amanda Rose December 23, 2008 at 11:43 AM  

Just seeing this... I'm so sorry to read your news...and sorry for your loss...

I'm happy that you're able to attend the funeral; I was prevented from attending one for a grandparent and still feel a piece missing in our closure.

Through marriages and divorces growing up, I've noticed that different Grandparents play different roles... No matter the role, there is a purpose for the way they are present in your life. I'm thankful you were able to know her...and develop your particularly special relationship. Love to your and your family...

Anonymous December 23, 2008 at 1:07 PM  

Farrah Bearah,

I'm so glad we managed to sneak those few precious hours catching up in while you were out here. Thanks again to your dad for watching Caden!

The pic is on my blog and I'll stick it on facebook soon! I'm back up to that neck of the woods to see B and family!

Love you!
Lisa Marie

Kelli @ Gohn Crazy December 28, 2008 at 8:22 PM  

I'm so sorry for your loss. May you find the strength in the Lord during your time of mourning.

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