Wednesday, February 11, 2015

My Mimi Passed and I'm Sad and Happy... Help?

I am sad...

...because my grandmother has passed away.  This is always a simple sentiment to express, but what makes me really sad are the finer details of why this moment is very hard for me to overcome.  I'm not really sure of the best way of putting my feelings into words, so I'm more in tune with making some bullet points about why she meant so much to me.

I'm sad because I lost the person that instilled my moral core that I still use and adhere to.

I'm sad because I lost the person that taught me to be kind to everyone.

I'm sad because I lost the person that taught me the social etiquette to be a polite and decent human being.

I'm sad because I lost the person that taught me countless lessons... like keeping my elbows off the table.

I'm sad that I remember playing my first Nintendo in the guest room on the first floor in the house in Barrington... then hiding it in the armoire and pretending to be playing with Legos.

I'm sad that she can't teach kindergarten anymore to wide-eyed young children.

I'm sad that I didn't send her enough thank-you notes for the presents I would receive on my birthdays and the holidays.

I am happy...

...because my grandmother taught me to really appreciate nature.

I'm happy because I'll never forget the times I'd get a hand-made lime-ade after doing my chores.

I'm happy that I know that she always loved me and supported me through my many life mistakes.

I'm happy that she enjoyed and approved of my girlfriend, Andrea.

I'm happy that she was able to attend my jazz concerts in high school because I know she appreciated them.

I'm happy that I was able to cook a turkey for the person that will forever put my cooking skills to shame for the rest of my life.

I'm happy that my favorite recipe of all time is my grandmother's breakfast casserole, that I always adamantly push for every holiday with my family.

I am confused, but hopeful...

...because I'm not quite sure how to handle this, or how to grieve properly.  I recently had the flu, which lead to an ear infection, which lead to a minor case of Bell's Palsy, which I have affectionately dubbed my "derpy face" so I kind of look like this...

I can't even cry normally... I feel really awkward.
I'm also scared that my family will take my grieving process in the wrong way.  I've been learning how to maintain my cool while my anxiety issues run rampant within my life... and my major coping mechanism is humor and the harder it is for me... the harsher it gets.

I'm worried I'm going to say something out of place, something harsh to my relatives that I know are grieving just as much, if not more, than I am.  I'm worried that I'm going to sound like a complete ass.  Unfortunately, this is just how my brain deals with this.  I'm worried that I'll say something to my friends or Andrea that is too harsh because of dealing with this.  I'm worried I'll get so involved about thinking about the importance of family, that I'll say something mean when someone just tried to distract me with something else, if only for a second.

I've been battling my issues with my faith recently.  I can't really say I believe in a God anymore, but I still believe that maybe eventually I'll be proven wrong that there will be irrefutable evidence that a higher power does exist, but until then, my brain is still more focused in science.  

It's always the easy answer to just say that my grandma is in heaven with my dog, Maisie (pictured above with her) and her dog, Goodie, my other grandparents, and they're just laughing at how skeptical I'm being about the afterlife... but I just can't get there yet.  I just don't really believe it.  Of course I'd like to believe that all my previous dead pets and relatives are in the same place, snuggling together on some large couch, and having a great time.  I just don't believe that.  

However, if there IS a place that good people go... it's where my Mimi is.  She was the kindest, most polite person I've ever met in my life, and she always had opinions that were based in years of wisdom and experience that I'm not even sure that I'll ever acquire.  If there is one person on this Earth that deserved to go to such a place, more than her, I couldn't fathom it.

It calms me to create these unrealistic visions of the "heaven" that she's in, and the more grandiose, the better.  It helps me to imagine that she's with her old dogs, walking through a limitless, beautiful garden that is the vision of perfection.  It helps me to imagine her with my grandfather, dancing together at Northwestern in their younger years.  It's heaven, right?  So why not!

This whole thing makes me really sad because...

...I never got to tell her how much of an influence she has had on me as an adult.  I've used countless tips about manners, dinner-table etiquette, and just social skills that she gave me while I grew up.  I'll always try, and probably never succeed, to be as polite and respectful as she was in everything that she said.

...I never got to really thank her for being so understanding when I felt like the "black sheep" of my family.  We never got to talk a lot about it, but I cherish the short bits that I was able to get between her, Pru, and I.

...I never got the chance to tell her that I finally understand her love of gardening.  (I'll probably have to re-type these sentences over and over again because I'll be projectile spewing tears at my computer monitor.)

...I never got to tell her that a garden is the one place that I feel relaxed and organized.  I never got to tell her that Andrea and I have been taking regular trips to the Chicago Botanical Gardens to have nice, stress-free days.  The garden has become the one area that I can escape to, where I don't have to worry about anything.  Everything is being handled.  The plants are being taken care of by people that love to maintain it, and by experts that will always have a deeper understanding of it than me.  I don't have to even consider that the plants might not get taken care of the right way... I can just go, and observe a very organized, and beautiful landscape that washes every ounce of stress away.

One day I'll have a plot of land to call my own, and I'll make a garden that will definitely be in her memory.  I'll do my best to keep all my plants alive, trimmed, and maintained so that it can provide the same comfort that my grandmother's love of nature gave to me.

Who knows, maybe I'll even have a Monarch butterfly stop by for when my Dad visits and we both remember our time with her, and the house in Barrington.

I love you, Mimi.  I'll never forget you, and the love that you gave everyone for those eighty-nine years.

1 comment:

  1. What an incredible tribute to Mimi. She was an inspiration to all of us. Her gentle, respectful, decent qualities were hard to articulate for me, but you captured her essence perfectly. Know that her spirit will live on through you and that her spirit will continue to surface from time to time for you. We'll all miss her.

    God bless.