Grandpa died Thursday August 30th, just a week away from the anniversary of Grandma’s death (or as I put it, the celebration of her life). He passed away peacefully after everyone had more than enough time to say goodbye. The world lost an amazing man who did nothing but give back and never had a mean thing to say about anyone. He was, and always will be, the man I measure them all against.
The last days were extremely hard on my mom as she was the primary caregiver, but then after he’d passed, there was a sense of relief about the whole thing. Mom spent the next two days shuffling back and forth across the state line to help with arrangements and meet with the funeral home. It was a mess and very emotional, but after that 48 hours of mess, we all headed down to the beach for our anual family vacation in the Outer Banks.
It felt right being there instead of home, soaking up the sun and rolling around in salt water and sand. Many years ago I specifically picked this time of year to go down there because of Grandma’s anniversary. How appropriate that it now becomes the anniversay of both of their lives. We had a wonderful week secluded in our little beach front abode. We came home to reality and the never ending death follow up with insurances, bills, credit cards, policy upon policy, and so much shit you never even dream of. We haven’t had the funeral yet, but we will soon. The nice thing about cremation is that you can put this type of thing off until you have everything resolved and can allow for people to make the journey to say their personal goodbyes.
Somewhere in the middle of all of this, my life has had it’s own calming moment. Initially I was very upset that I could not show my grandpa his great grandchild and was very sad that I’d failed that part of life. But I’m coming out of it realizing that I’m on my own path, not someone else’s. No matter what I feel in moments of weakness, I know I haven’t truly failed. I know in my heart that my grandma would have approved of Dean because I know grandpa adored him. He didn’t get to see my children, but he got to see a glimpse of my future and I can live with that and be content with it. Being that content with my life has made me realize a lot about myself.
Death always forces me to examine my own life and this time I feel very uplifted and self aware. I’ve wanted a baby for as long as I can remember, but until now, I know I wasn’t entirely ready. Now I feel it. I can’t even explain the difference other than yes, I wanted a baby before and THOUGHT I was ready, but now I KNOW I’m ready. Maybe the difference between now and the last 6 months is that I have hope and faith again and that we decided to still try on our own to conceive. Yeah, the chances are low but they’re not gone entirely so why not?
I also feel this way about my marriage. They say the first year is the hardest year of marriage. So far that’s proven to be very true for us and it has certainly been a small piece of hell here and there, but as we quickly approach the one year mark, I realize that this is just the beginning of it all. We’ve had several moments of wanting to kill each other, a few moments where divorce was seriously contemplated, and a couple fights that left me questioning why I ever said “I do” in the first place. We’ve also been through a LOT in that first year that most couples never have to deal with and it’s quite a struggle some times, but we’re strong, stubborn fools and we don’t give up that easily. The desire to push through the hell and find that joy again is what pushed us to develop some really great problem solving skills and is continuing to help us grow and move forward.
Part of me feels that the reason I’m finally ready to have that baby is because the fear and anxiety I had over being married and wondering if it was going to end have finally found resolution. There was a moment of clarity and a clean slate issued and then it all felt right. There was a visible shift in our marriage and a sense of happiness and calm washed over everything. Yes, the first year is incredibly hard and it challenged the hell out of us, but I feel like the last month of it is going to be quite spectacular and catapult us into the next level.
I started this post about the loss of my grandpa, but I’m ending it with the perspective on my life because that’s what death of a loved one does… it interrupts your own life, causes great pain and sadness, but then it makes you value your own and for some people it inspires change. Losing one of the greatest men I’ve ever known is leaving a lasting impression on my heart and will carry through to the way I live out the rest of my life.