Letting go: Grieving and finding peace

I dreamt my grandmother’s soul came down to earth and pulled my soul into the heavens. We traveled together through the clouds and memories we had. When we reached the end of our memories, she released my soul back to my body on earth. And I felt great joy in letting her leave this world because she was at peace and ready to move on.

Words cannot quite describe the sensation this dream gave me. The relief that she was ready. And the peace I would need to let her go.

Almost six weeks ago I learned my Grandma Erma’s cancer had relapsed. They had given her only a couple weeks, a couple weeks prior. So I got to work planning for my trip, with three children and my mom, to see her. I am glad I got to see her one more time, though I left the visit with unresolved thoughts and feelings. I wanted more time, and I felt upset we had so many missed opportunities.

Time, as always, was not in our favor, as we needed to return home. And with so much physical distance between us, there was no more time to fix the emotional distance that had been created over the last thirteen years since my grandpa, her husband, had died.

I tried to think positively. I had finally gotten to take all three of my children to see her. She had joy in watching them play, and in seeing me be the mom she knew I could be. She seemed peaceful herself; accepting that she did not have much time left. And we both took ownership of the time we had lost with each other, and focused on all the memories from my childhood.

Unfortunately, I still felt sad. Sad that I hadn’t sent more cards. Sad I hadn’t made more effort to try to close the gap between the invisible, but very real, distance my grandfather’s death created. I felt hurt she couldn’t recall the letters I had sent. And I struggled to accept she may have just forgotten. I wanted to be angry at her family (my mom’s step-siblings) for not helping her connect with us more. Confused that we consider them as her family and not ours, even after so many years of commonality. Grandma Erma had always been my grandma, and had been an integral part of my mother’s life since she was a teenager. And yet, there was so much separation. So much loss.

The night I had my dream, I woke up promptly at 3:18am to nurse B. I sat there, feeling complete. At peace. And I knew Grandma Erma had passed. I told my mom about the dream when the daytime came, and she knew I knew. We waited to hear the news, without any good connection to those who had been with her during her last days on earth. And last night, a week after she passed, we got the news.

It’s strange how grieving can be so different from one griever to another, and yet more so from one loss to the next.

For me, I did not feel sad Grandma Erma had passed. However strange it may sound to others, the dream I had was definitely a gift from her. From the angel she had become, to find the peace I needed. My only regret, not getting a photo with her on our last visit. So my young children could cherish a photo memory in the future. This was so different from the loss I experienced when my grandpa, her husband, died. Thirteen and a half years later I still grieve his death. But perhaps now they are together again, I will find a way to move past the loss that has effected me for so long.

For my mom, there’s hurt, frustration and profound loss. Her healing process will be different than mine, and that’s hard to see.

In this moment, all of us have been reminded how precious life is, and how we spend our time. My compassionate cousin expressed how she valued me and my mom, and wanted us to know her love. It was a beautiful note in an otherwise heartbreaking email. I believe all of us will move forward with more purpose. I know I’ll hold our children a little closer, and connect more with those I don’t get to see often.

And I will share my love, because in the end, that is what I want people to remember.

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