Thursday, June 10, 2010

Dealing With It

These last few days have been really difficult for me. I've been lethargic, depressed, on the verge of tears constantly.I miss Sonny, but my level of grief seemed so out of proportion to my life relationship with him. Then I realized that every time I thought of Sonny, I thought of my grandparents. I've been grieving my grandparents.


At the time my grandfather went into hospice with lung cancer I was on bed rest with pre-eclampsia and sciatica in both legs. Two days later, at 34 weeks into my pregnancy, I was in the delivery room being induced for severe pre-eclampsia. I had a seizure on the delivery table. Will was born and, for a 34 week baby who had been exposed to magnesium for 24 hours, was very healthy. But he was a preemie and headed to the NICU while I headed to the Intensive Care post-partum unit.

My grandfather's hospice was next door to the hospital. He was within walking distance, yet I couldn't go see him. Relatives kept me up on his progress and sent me messages, but I NEEDED to be at the bedside of the person who was my best friend, my buddy, the person who filled my heart. And I couldn't be.

I was in the hospital for 1 week after delivery - I was ill. I was sent home and told to go back to bed rest until I was seen by my Ob/Gyn. The next day, we brought William home. I begged my husband to take me to Grandpa, but both he and I knew that I wasn't healthy enough and a hospice isn't a place for a preemie. I received a call from my cousin who told me that my grandpa asked if the baby had been named after him liked I'd always said. When she told him that his name was William Howard he smiled and slipped into a coma. The next day he was dead.


I knew that all eyes would be on me at the funeral - I was the favorite, and he was my guy. I did everything I could to keep it together. I didn't cry much. I left him a letter in his casket telling him how much I would miss him. Then I went home and took care of my preemie, which took up all of my time.

A few days later, our dog of many years died. I kept it together for the kids. I was also dealing with the knowledge that Tim would be leaving us for a while and I had to prepare the kids for that. I was in crazy exhausted pumping supermom overdrive.

1 month and two days after my grandfather died I got a call from my dad that I had to come to the hospital, but to not speed to get there. My grandmother had died instantly of a massive heart attack. I went to the ER and entered a room filled with my family and my beautiful grandmother, bruised from IV's, skin torn from a monitor, looking like she was asleep. She looked peaceful. I remember handing Will to my aunt, walking up to my grandmother and kissing her on the cheek. I stroked her soft silver hair. I held her fingers, slightly gnarled from arthritis. I touched her lips that had kissed me so many times. And I didn't cry. I was in too much shock. I had been at her house with Will and Tim two days before. She had held Will, counted his toes, kissed his forehead. We talked for a few hours. Now she was dead.


I broke down a bit at the funeral. Everything that had happened over that last month was just too much. But I had a new baby, I had a family that I had to be strong for. We gathered one last time at my grandparent's house to box up everything and it was over.

Except for when I think of something that I have to call grandma about. Or when I know the bass fishing will be good and my grandpa isn't there to do it with me. Or when I want to hear their voices in my ears, not just in my head. I miss the way my grandmother's skin felt and my grandpa's soft, wispy hair. I miss my grandmother holding me. I miss that the most. To say that they were like parents to me is a severe understatement. They helped raise me. They helped me form a moral compass and held me up when I needed it. They were amazing people.

Last night I was crying, and Tim said to me "you feel like a piece of yourself is gone, don't you?" and I had to say yes. I told him he's just going to have to give me some time to get through this because it's about time I deal with my grief. I've grieved so many things over the past few years, but not one of the most important things of them all. It's time to deal.


Is there something that you need to grieve but haven't? Maybe you think you don't have to. Maybe you think you have to be strong for those around you. If there is something in your heart that you have been holding there, I urge you to take it to God. He will help you lighten the load.


Roxanne said...

You're so beautiful Erin. Your words are constantly making me ponder, many times in tears. I know how hard it is to have someone close to you die and not really deal with it. But I'm glad you're talking about it now. I hope the next few days are easier. xo.

Michelle said...

You're in my prayers-

Sarah Larsen said...

I'm so sorry for your loss Erin. Your post was beautiful, and I loved seeing pictures of your grandparents.

kassidy's notes said...

Talking about it is acknowledging the grief. With all my past challenges, I gave it all to God. You're right; He lightens the load so much.

My thoughts and prayers for you as you deal with your grief. Be strong.

Lisa at Rockland Mother said...

Oh wow, you have been through so much and have been so incredibly strong. Your grandparents would be proud of what you've said here and they would want you to afford yourself the time to grieve. Breaking down sometimes doesn't make you any less of a superwoman.

R Montalban said...

What beautiful pictures of your grandparents whom looking at would not want you to be so sad at their loss no person that loves you would. It is never easy to see people who you are close to die but they live on in your heart and minds and of course the afterlife what ever that may be. So long as you think and talk about them, they will never be that far from you, you just won't be able to feel them, in the way you previously had, but every now and then, you just might! Having lost my mother to cancer a few months after my son was born, I understand your sadness and the little time you have had to grieve. The light will shine again, and so too will your need to smile at the memories you have which will overwhelm you if you allow it, but all in time.....

lori said...

oh....erin. good grieving to you. it is hard, and it is good. and it is hard. it's incredible, the 1-2-3 punch of losses, all while dealing with your own illness and newborn.

and p.s. my son's name is will, and i named him after my grandfather.

sending you power, courage, comfort, and prayer.

Unknown said...

My grandparents are basically my parents too and the mere thought of losing either of them can send me into a fit of tears. I can't and don't even want to imagine how you feel and I just hope that I don't have to deal with that for a very long time.

Your grandparents seemed like wonderful people that obviously helped raise you into a wonderful person. The pictures of them are amazing and I'm sure they are very proud of you and still watching over you from above.

I hope it gets easier for you, my thoughts and prayers are with you =)

Deb K said...

Erin~Your words and pictures are beautiful.I recently lost my Mother so I know the pain that you are feeling.

We all grieve in our own way and I hope that you find peace knowing that your grandparents are together once again ((HUGS))

Unknown said...

Very touching post Erin. Thank you for sharing this. I hope you go back and read and re read this during your time. Remember that everytime they cross your mind my dear, they are with you. Your memories to cherish and hold dear- the lessons they taught you along the way. The lessons you will teach William. They are watching over you always--I truly believe that. Thank You again--this post meant a lot to me.

cheri said...

let it out, erin. you have to grieve, or else it will hound you for the rest of your life.

i loved the way you wrote it, so raw and so vulnerable. if i can hug you, halfway around the world (i live in manila), i would.

you, sonny and your grandparents are in my prayers. i'm sure they're happy, now that they're together, and that they're proud of you and what you have become...

TheSmellyArmpit said...

Oh so sorry about your grandparents. It must be so hard.

Linda said...

I am so sorry that it is so hard for you. I have not yet suffered loss of people so close to me and I never really knew my grandparents, but the time will come. I love the pictures of your grandparents.

Teresa @ ♥ Too Many Heartbeats ♥ said...

What a touching post. I'm so very sorry for all your loss and for all that you have been through. I can't imagine going through ALL that in one month, plus having a brand new baby. Wow.

My paternal grandparents lived next door to us while I was growing up. They were like a second set of parents to me and I loved them so much. My grandfather died 24 years ago after a long battle with colon cancer but my grandmother, who is now 95 years old, is still alive. She started to decline pretty rapidly, both mentally and physically, a couple of years ago and is now in a nursing home. Because of my illness, I can't go visit her and it makes me so very sad. I miss her SO much. I think about her all the time and remember all that we did together when I was younger. She taught me so much and always made sure that I went to church every Sunday. I hope and pray that somehow, someway I will be able to go see her before she leaves this earth. I want to see her and hold her again and tell her how much I love her. Thankfully, a few years ago I wrote her a letter telling her so but I'd still like to tell her again in person.

Thanks for sharing this intimate part of your life with us, for being transparent. I know it wasn't easy.


Teresa <><

stringsofpurls said...

Wow, Erin. A beautiful post. You have been through it but God will not waste any of it. He is in the business of restoring, redeeming and making us beautiful through our suffering, for the purpose of coming along-side others who suffer. Grieve, knowing that He is with you.
Love you.

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