Grieving is normal…

In my years of living I have seen my fair share of death, but there are a few that really broke my whole heart. I have seen death a few times too many, & even once thought I wanted to be a mortician. For me death is something I know death is supposed to happen & that we all must leave this hell hole here on earth! The hard part for me is the absence. My maternal grandma passed in 2002, I was too young to understand. I just knew we visited her a lot, and then one day those visits stopped. I remember going to her funeral and seeing my mother upset, but I did not quite understand her pain and I do not even remember if I cried.

The first experience I had with grieving and death was with my grandma Ruth. My grandma Majorie Ruth was the sweetest woman on earth. My grandmother was a strong woman, and I seen nothing from her but strength. I never seen her cry, I never seen her worry, I never seen her fret about anything and that is why I desired to be half the woman she was. She was married to my grandfather for many of years and was loyal! When my grandfather passed, I did not see her upset, I watched her bury her husband with dignity and comfort her sons as if she herself was not hurting. Majorie was just an amazing woman in general. My father was not always active, but that did not stop my grandma from showing up and making sure my brother & I knew we were loved deeply by her. She just always always impressed me with her strength. Even when she was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer, she comforted me and told me she would be okay, not to worry. She and I had been through storms together, she just always covered me & never let me get wet! Although I served in the Army, she was the true solider down to her final breath. She was so strong, and prideful that she waited to the exact moment I was not there to pass on. I was so hurt and upset by her passing while I was not by her side. Until I realized that she waited because she did not want me there, she did not want me to watch her die. After she passed it was like I had a dark cloud over my head and there were no sunny days. The pain I felt inside is still indescribable, but I do remember feeling like I wish I had died with her. I would wake up and wish I were dreaming. I would wake up, and realize she is really gone & I felt numb like my heart had left from my body.

 Grieving for my grandma was the first time I lost someone so close to me that it affected me physically, mentally, & emotionally. I literally thought I could not live without my Majorie…& then I deployed to Afghanistan and had to tuck my feelings away to protect myself from being distracted. Over the years I still cry on her birthday, and October during breast cancer awareness month I always feel a little blue. I have healed and improved some, but I still miss her, and I cry when I think of wanting to hear her voice. I sometimes play her voicemails just to hear her voice, and to make sure I do not forget her. I know she is my personal angel because I have seen her spirit and she is around me because I feel it and I know.

This platform is so important to me because it was inspired by the hurt that I feel when I think of my Majorie. To lose her was a punch to the gut, and to lose my dad 4 years later was a total TKO! My father Mike was the funniest man I ever knew. He was in and out my life as I grew up, but he would always show up to make sure my brother & I did not forget his presence. He would come bearing gifts, and he often bought me nice jewelry that I always lost. He was always gentle with me, and he never once that I can remember raised his voice to me or said anything hurtful to me, although I have given him a few bad words. He was just always there being silly, trying to make me laugh. My dad had this contagious laugh, and it was a unique laugh that if you heard it, you knew it was him. After suffering a brain injury he was different and he actually forgot a lot about how he was not as active in my childhood so that gave us space to grow and start a new father and daughter relationship & I can honestly say I enjoyed getting to know him all over again the last 8 years of his life, he and I became so close. He lived with me & my children even got to know their Papa! We spent Thanksgiving together, Christmas, and we just had so many great memories that we got to create before he left this earth. I miss him so much, and my prayer is always that he knew I love him, and that he is proud. There is no handbook on grieving and even the written books on grieving do not help because each person grieves differently. For me I look at the small things for comfort. I often see red birds & rainbows in the sky on days when I feels the saddest, and I believe it is just a sign from my personal angels letting me know it is going to be okay. Today was a tough day, and as I sat in the line at Starbucks a small rainbow sat in the clouds and that gave me comfort. If you have lost someone you love, I suggest you find your way to grieve and do not allow anyone to tell you how to grieve. Look for the small positives that make you smile. Always keep your head up and know this too shall pass. Pain is temporary, and it will not last forever. If ever you want to chat, please subscribe to my blog, and add your commentary below. I am here to support & grow with you!

-Toni

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