Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Miss me, but let me go...


I hadn't planned this. What I had planned was a quick trip across the state for a sleepover with my best friends. Last minute I was invited to my Nana's best friends house for dinner. Under normal circumstances I probably would have graciously declined. It would have been a two hour drive one way in the evening and we are already so busy traveling during the holidays. But it happened that I would be coming back through the area from my girl's weekend so I decided to go.

The weeks leading up to Christmas I was in a purging mode and I stumbled across the letter I wrote my Nana. I wrote it when she went into the hospital the last time. I could feel that our time together was limited and there was so many things I wanted to tell her but I knew I couldn't verbalize it, so instead I put the words to paper. I anticipated giving it to her the next morning, however, she had quickly deteriorated and was never coherent enough for me to give her the letter. I honestly didn't even remember keeping it. Once I found it I knew I had to do something with it. It was a weight on my shoulders of the words I never said. Of the regret I had. It was the words that I wish I could have said to Joan if I had known our time together was coming to a close.

On my way to the dinner from my girl's weekend I did something I hadn't done in 2.5 years, I went to the house I grew up in... Joan and Papa's house which I guess is just Papa's house now. 

It didn't start out with me consciously avoiding the house, but over time the idea of going back became harder and harder. Going back would me I would see first hand that time has not stood still. Joan is gone and the world kept going and me along with it. But it's hard when you don't return to the place you called home for the majority of your life, the place that holds some of your best and worst memories. 

I finally returned and went through some of my old things. And honestly it was nice. It was nice to be surrounded by my old stomping grounds and to see Joan every where I looked. It was healing. 

After I left Papa's I headed up 52. I made the decision to go to my Nana's grave before the dinner I was headed to. I do not visit graves... it is not my thing. But the last few months the idea of visiting her grave had kept popping into my mind. I didn't know what I would do when I got there or even the proper etiquette for visiting a grave since I have really avoided the practice. But I knew one thing... I was taking the letter and leaving it there. I needed it gone.

As I drove up those back country roads I listened to a CD I had made shortly after Joan passed. Filled with songs of mourning and grief. I screamed, cried, and cursed God. In a moment of being completely alone I finally let myself fully grieve the loss of my Nana and Joan.

Once I arrived at the grave I wandered around trying to remember the day we buried her and where her headstone would be located. After a little searching I finally found it. There was beautiful flowers and gorgeous poinsettias for the holidays. What really struck me was the words carved into her headstone "Miss Me But Let Me Go". The words hit me like a ton of bricks. I broke down crying. It was time to let go. To let go of the pain, anger, grief, and denial. I will never stop missing her or Joan. But it is time for me to let go the hope that things will ever be like they were. They won't. Time to let go of the anger because it doesn't change a thing.

I placed my letter beside the poinsettias and promised Nana, Joan, and myself that I would miss them forever, but I would no longer hold on to the hurt, anger, and pain. I would be glad for the times we had and for the everlasting impact they had on my life. As I headed back down those back country roads I listened one last time to the songs that have haunted me for the last couple of years and had a long ugly cry. I prayed for forgiveness and for healing, not just for myself but for all my family. 

Losing two of the most influential people in your life in the span of a little over two years really leaves you in a constant cycle of grief. Not a single holiday, a single milestone, a single moment passes where I don't wish and pray they were here to share and celebrate life with. But finally my soul has experienced some healing. 

4 comments:

  1. Embracing the journey...(((Hugs)))

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  2. This is beautiful Brittany! So proud of the woman you are!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Robyn. That means so much to me!

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