> First, let me say thank you to those of you who emailed me after reading Dealing With Loss: Part 1. It was touching to see that I made a connection with you and that you could relate to what I had written. Now let’s go into part 2 picking up where I left off and delve deeper….
Once again I was hit with what felt like a ton of bricks when my paternal grandfather, “Papa” passed away. The pain grew tremendously but once again my coping mechanism was “being strong“. I can recall seeing him at the funeral home and how we tried to remove his jewelry from his hands because we didn’t want anyone robbing his grave. I remember my dad’s family arguing over whether to cremate or bury him. That was such a trying and emotional time.
I can still remember his funeral, the sound of the guns being shot at his 21-gun salute (he was retired Air Force) and how I jumped each time I felt the blast. I didn’t understand why they had to shoot their rifles. I can still visualize the flag being folded and handed to my grandmother…. I recently found a letter that I wrote my grandfather the day of his funeral. I remember staying by his burial site (after everyone else walked back to the chapel and to their cars) to read him my letter. My dad stood by me as I sat on the grass and bravely kept my composure. I was so young, but so resilient.
When my paternal aunt (my dad’s younger sister) passed away soon after I could not understand why so many people were passing away around me, but once again I had to be strong. My dad reminded me that my aunt would not want me to cry. I never saw her at a mortuary or anything like I did my grandfather and great aunt- but I felt her presence as though she was right there with me.
My family flew to Northern California and we followed her husband as we drove to the Pacific Ocean to spread her ashes and say a prayer. It was all so surreal. I began analyzing her death trying to figure out how and why. She was so young, only in her twenties…passed away after working out and swimming at the gym…being young and upset at losing someone that I loved dearly I initially, yet quietly, blamed her husband for not calling the paramedics sooner.
Then it seemed like everyone around me started passing away like flies…
A great aunt on my mom’s father’s side of the family passed away. The small church in Dustin, Oklahoma couldn’t hold all of us so I never got the chance to go inside to be seated. I instead stayed outside and kicked the dirt around, and played. The experience was not the same for me as the previous “passings” because I wasn’t that close to her I guess. I was saddened but also disconnected from the overall experience. However, I was amazed and intrigued by the history of the family cemetary and the grave stones; and how far back in time many of them were dated.
Are you noticing a common theme threaded throughout my childhood up to this point? Share your thoughts and my next post for Dealing With Loss: Part 2 we’ll see if you’ve hit it on the nail.
Until the next time we connect here on Paradigm Life I wish you the best in all that you do and all that comes your way! Take care.