She wasn’t even the second, but it was pivotal. There is something about losing a grandmother and also about losing the last blood relative of the generation two above my own. I don’t just mourn the loss of her. I mourn the loss of her husband, my grandfather, all over again. It’s been two years. I mourn the loss of my childhood which now seems finally gone, as if it were hanging on by one loosening thread. One brilliant, vivid and wonderful, but loosening thread. How long was it loosening?
– This grief feels like a heavy coat that you can take off in the warmth of your children and friends, but then you need to put it back on in quiet moments of cold and pain. This grief is like the wind and sun on a temperate day – hot when the sun is hot and instantly cold when the clouds come without warning.
– This experience is not tragic, but it is very, very sad.
– Death of a 100-year-old is people telling you how lucky and blessed you were to have her as long as you did.
– It’s having her through every memory of your life thus far. It’s being born when she was a spring chicken close to 70. It’s having her meet her great-grandchildren.
– It’s knowing she’s that she led a big and long life. It’s knowing that it should make you feel better and comfort you during the darkest parts of the night, but it doesn’t. It just doesn’t. Yet.
– You feel inclined to celebrate 100 years but it will never seem long enough. And nothing ever seems like it could be long enough, if endings still come when you think they won’t. Or you blissfully forget for a long while that things have to change.
– It’s knowing that despite love and longevity, the end still has to come to separate the sweet moments, days and years from one another. The end still has to separate the sweet people from each other.
– So many recent memories of breathing tubes and wheelchairs and chemical smells. You have to breathe in your kids and their youthful smells. You have to see their wonder and hear their laughter and know… that this is your world right now. It will go on with you, and not the same without you. You still have to wake up, live life, and give big love out generously. So generously.
– It’s thinking that your paternal grandparents died tragically young, even though they lived well into their 80’s. It’s using age 100+ as a barometer of how long your parents and your in-laws should live. It’s the growing pains of the shifting of generations.