Family,  Journey,  Life

Grandpa: For Alltid

There’s this burning ache… it wells up and my throat begins to close, short of breath, I panic… just as I’m able to take a deep breath, the tears fall. I try to catch them, conceal them, hide them from the world. I try to be okay. I am okay. Will be okay… right?!?! 

Massive pain… a void that seems surreal, impossible, yet it’s so piercing… how can it be this way? How can someone we love be with us one day, one moment, one breath… then be gone? How can we stand by and watch someone slowly drift from our grasp and dread the moment they too are gone?

I find myself embarrassed to be sad, it’s been 8 weeks now… I should be ready to move on, he lived a very good life and is free from pain… seems the harder I try to convince myself to be okay, the harder I fall. However, I miss him. I miss the way life used to be… whole. 

Grief, that’s the term we give this tumultuous feeling, we can’t help ourselves but to label it, because then maybe with enough data and research, it’s something that can be understood or treated… no offense, but I’m not sure we really can. It’s unique to everyone. Everyone grieves and mourns and feels in their own way, by their own right and merit. It’s interesting to me how many judge others for grieving openly, daily, or for sharing their stories… it’s those people placing judgement that don’t seem to get it I guess. Sad for them. To grieve it to know you loved and were loved deeply, beyond this earthly existence. How blessed. 

I miss my Grandpa so deeply, it burns! My mind races to every end of the earth searching for him… regretting every day I didn’t spend with him or let him know how much I loved him. It hurts. But like the good man that he was, I know he accepted me and the busy way I tend to live my life. I know he knows I loved him. Before he passed, he was suffering from dementia and cancer spreading throughout his body. He was in pain to a degree and unable to eat and fully thrive and live the way he deserved. It was hard to see… I thought this would have made it easier to see him go, that he was one of the “lucky ones” that lived to the age of 87. It’s part of the circle of life and it’s a necessary and inevitable part, that I understand. What I don’t understand is how this makes it any easier? For some, maybe that knowledge has and will… for others, age may just be a number and that losing that person is still capable of creating a massive void. Fortunately, I’m not the only one that mourns the loss of someone elderly. 

“Irrespective of age, we mourn for those loved and lost. Mourning is one of the deepest expressions of pure love. it is a natural response in complete accord with divine commandment: “Thou shalt live together in love, in so much that thou shall weep for the loss of them that die.” (D&C 42:45). Moreover, we can’t full appreciate joyful reunions later without tearful separations now. The only way to take sorrow out of death is to take love out of life.”  

~Elder Russel M. Nelson 

Although I am not a member of this person’s religion, their message resonated with me and reminded me that it’s okay to mourn the loss of my grandfather. 

Now, since first writing this post (it’s taken me over 6 weeks to finish) and reflection on his life and my life as his granddaughter… I have begun to feel relief from the heaviness and I have opened my eyes and my heart to the tender mercies everywhere. I am doing okay… I am loving each day with a more open and gracious heart. To the best of of ability, I am living each day as the gift it is and appreciating every moment I do have with those I love. Life is a precious thing and I am so glad that I have people, like my grandfather, in my life that make missing them so hard… what a blessing to be able to say that. Love my tribe and proud to love so deeply it hurts. 

I was able to speak at my grandfather’s funeral… I am not quite sure how I managed but I am so glad I did, it was an honor, one of my greatest thus far.

One month to the day that he gained his angel wings, we traveled to a rural and tiny town, Kintyre, in North Dakota (where my grandpa was born and raised)… he always wanted to go back “home,” taking him there was a beautiful experience and privilege (no matter how hard it was to say goodbye and leave him there) because we laid him to rest next to his mom and dad. How amazing is that?! After losing his mother to cancer when he was just thirteen… he finally was able to be near her again. And if you haven’t witnessed a Military Salute for a soldier that has moved on… breathtaking to say the least.

  

So you see, there is some beauty in death, even though it may leave us in a place that becomes too hard to bare or breath. I am not a religious person, but I am a believer in the spirit and the soul… I believe death is not the end, there is something worth living for. 

One day at a time… moving forward, always seeking more ways to be better, do better, love better, and of course learning how to Go Beautifully!

        

Thank you for listening. 

For Alltid,

Chandra 

 

 

9 Comments

  • Debi Hansen

    Beautiful tribute for a great man.. I recently heard that to be able to feel the pain and be with it we are able to visit with the one we are missing.. Grief, different for each one of us.. Your my first born and from the day I first held you, I knew then you would have a sensitive and loving heart❤️✨ Be you.. I’m beyond proud of the woman that you are and the way you are open to improving yourself.. I believe that is why we are her to experience the good and the bad.. Your bright light will leave footsteps if love and kindness.. Love you!!
    Mom❤️

  • SUSAN ANDERSON

    Beautiful post about your grandpa. Grandparents are special. I miss mine everyday. I envy those who still have theirs in thier physical life. Love you and your heart:) xo

  • Karla Thompson

    Wonderfully written and pictures that capture the meaning of life, love, and relationships. Thank you. Karla Thompson

  • Jilly Strasburg

    I love this more than I can say. I just laid my grandfather to rest in June. He was 97, and he too suffered from alzheimers/dementia. He too had a military funeral, and it was one of the most beautiful things I think I’ve ever had the privilege of witnessing.
    I know your sweet grandpa will be with you always. I think it’s beautiful that you got to honor him by speaking on his special day. I can’t imagine what that meant to him, and how much he loves you. Thanks for sharing your heart. This is truly a beautiful post.

  • Liliana

    Beautiful post, it’s really hard to lose our grandparents because they’re specials. I’m sure your grandpa is better now, in a place where there is no pain. Bless and hugs for you and your family, from a venezuelan reader.

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