Children,  Family,  Journey,  Life,  Love

Love You Long Time: Life’s Toughest Lessons

Every day for the last few months I have wanted to share my thoughts, my feelings, my sentiments… but every time I went to my computer to type, the cursor just blinked at me. Overwhelmed, I would exit the screen and crawl back into my shell… I think this shell has provided me shelter from the pain, but really it’s provided me a barrier from embracing and facing the truths and harsh realities that comes with life, in particular: death.

I created this blog as a space to feel safe through honest expression and to share with others in hopes that maybe something I may be going through, they might too and have a place to feel understood or at the least, not alone. I love writing more than anything, it’s my release and nourishment for the soul. I love sharing. Both of these things have been hard for me to do, therefor neglecting my blog, which is truly such a meaningful space for me. Well, today, even with the lump in my throat, the tears in my eyes, and the momentary loss of breath… I have decided it is time to open up and share again… 

Last July I lost my grandfather as I previously shared, it was really difficult for me for many reasons. He was my first real loss and experiencing your first death of a family member is a rather tough thing to grapple with. He was a wonderful man and I miss him dearly but I am very comforted in knowing he lived a wonderful and full life, he was 87. 

Three months later is when my world shattered. I know it is hard for many to understand why it has hit me so hard. I even had someone say to me, “isn’t it weird for a niece to be so close to an uncle?” I was confused and a bit hurt by her comments, then I considered she just didn’t understand and that was okay. I have had friends completely pull away from me and barely express a word of sympathy at my loss, that has been extremely hard to understand and deal with. But then I was at the Lady Gage concert recently and she pulled a letter out from a fan and read it to all of us, this woman had wrote in to Gaga about her tough time in life with the looming illness and potential death of her uncle that she was close to and that she ended up donating one of her kidneys to him to save his life… Gaga went into the audience and hugged this woman and applauded her for her sacrifice and great love of her uncle. That is when I had this sort of “yes/told you so” moment and wanted to shout out to the world myself, “see… it’s okay for a niece to love her uncle so much that she would do anything to save him.” 

On October 18, 2017, my uncle left us after his battle with metastatic prostate cancer. To say it was by far the worst day of my life would be an understatement. I am not sure I have completely accepted it still… every day I picture his face, his voice, his presence and it’s near impossible to believe that he is really gone. He was nine years older than me and I saw him more as a brother than an uncle, he was also one of my dearest friends and confidants. He was definitely not perfect but he was a pretty remarkable person and impacted the lives of so many people with this charm, his sarcasm, his whit, his compassion, and as his best friend said, his extra estrogen he must have had in his body. He was kind, sensitive, and would do just about anything for anyone. Toward the end, I would sit with him and cry, no matter how hard I tried to hide my heartache, and he would then cry and say over and over again, “I am sorry… I am sorry to see you hurting.” Here he was, facing this narrowing tunnel and impending death and he was more concerned about each of us he was leaving behind than himself. That is who he was.

  

He left behind his soulmate and lifelong best friend and partner, his wife and my aunt. He left behind his doppleganger, his mini me, his boy blue, his 13 year old son. That is what kills me the most I think… knowing how good of a husband and father he was and how these two are now shorted and left without him. Something he never would have done on his own, he was fiercely loyal and committed. They were his life, his world, his purpose… he loved them so dearly. 

It is my great love of my uncle that has brought me here today, that has encouraged me to face my biggest fears, and to continue to live. He would be devastated if we stopped, although I know he will also understand when the moments of grief become too great, he was also a realistic man. It is okay to smile, to laugh, to be happy… it doesn’t change how much you love nor miss someone that you lose. I think the veil between existence of mortality and immortality is thinner than we know until we are on the other side. I believe those we love see us and are with us. That gives me courage and strength to pick up the pieces and continue to live my best life and to be my best self. 

Before he passed, I had some time with him that I will cherish and hold close in my heart for the rest of my life. We had very real life discussions and he wanted to make sure I was happy in my life and that is something I will never forget. I will miss our talks, his teasing, our laughs, and our shared tears. I will miss his voice, his point of view, and him entirely. He is and will always be one of the greatest people I have ever known. I want to thank him for that and I hope he knows how much he meant to me.

We never really know what someone is dealing with in their hearts or the fallen pieces in their minds… we quickly judge others and pass opinion without a clue as to what is inside. Some of the unkindness that has been shown to me, for a while has given me some resentment and hateful feelings… that just leads to further destruction really so I am glad I have learned the lessons and felt the feelings of these actions so that I can better myself and try to be more compassionate and open minded myself with others. I have been living the greatest lessons of life and it has humbled me to my core. And maybe through the struggles of my grief this past year I haven’t been the greatest friend either. I almost feel like a child starting over, re-learning how to behave, what is right and what is wrong. How to be kinder and to be a better person. I like this re-birth and sometimes there is a belief that in death there is the opposite to create balance in the world of re-birth. That is the final gift from my uncle to me… the chance to be who I want to be and to find her, embrace her, and be her.

Thank you Craigers for this gift and for the 37 years I was blessed to be your niece in the flesh and for our eternal bond. Love you long time!

xo,

Chandra

 

12 Comments

    • Debi Hansen

      ❤️ ?✨ Craig will forever be with you!! I know he has touched my life with so many gifts.. I still remember the first time I met him, his sparkle never dimmed.. He was kind quick witted generous man with a huge heart.. I love this!! Your such a multitalented woman. My baby .. I am so very proud of you!! I love reading whatever you write it flows, draws me in!! I love you!! Shine on Brilliant one ❤️✨?

  • Sadie

    Awesome read. This hits close to home for me. I am in the middle of writing one about the loss of my dad due to cancer. Cancer sucks.

  • Master B

    Beautifully written and eye opening. As humans, we relate situations to our own experiences which is sometimes good but a lot of times bad. Even knowing Craig and your relationship (much better after this post) I relate it to my own uncle passing a year ago and although sad I wasn’t super close with him so the pain was for my mom… so when I hear of someone’s uncle or aunt or basically anyone who isn’t immediate family passing, I feel bad and have empathy, but never stop and think about the relationship regardless of title. We do subconsciously judge in our head like “oh a grandparent who is older, sad but could be worse” and that is so wrong. I remember hearing people say after my grandma passed “well she was 93 so that’s good”. Like what the hell is that supposed to mean. Also eye opening is the fact that no matter how long they are sick or if you have time to prepare… it never makes it any easier. Ever. Great post. I’m so sorry for your loss. So sorry I wasn’t there for you. Sorry so many just disregarded it as “just an uncle”! He was amazing and you were an awesome niece and cousin. Thanks for sharing. Love ya.

  • Chantel Estes

    What a beautifully written piece straight from the heart. I so appreciate your rawness and how you love with your whole being. Thank you for letting us all in. Love ya girl….xoxo

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