Well, it’s the beginning of the new year – a fresh new start, and yet I am struggling with the fact that I need to take down my Christmas Tree and move on to the new things of 2013. I keep looking at my tree and that gorgeously wrapped lonely present still sitting there.
I don’t know what to do with it. It was wrapped with such care for a very special person. The tag still says “Merry Christmas Mimi Love, Hayden and Hannah”.
I didn’t want to write this post before now because the holidays are supposed to be such a glorious joyful time – and for many, it is. But for some of us, it is a horrible time of sadness filled with feelings of, not happiness, but of despair. Sadly, this year, for the first time, I was in the latter group.
A week before Christmas, I was so extremely excited and happy. Heck, I was more excited about it than the children were. I felt it was going to be our best one yet.
A couple weeks prior, I had just celebrated the best Thanksgiving I had ever experienced, and had a huge Lightning McQueen birthday bash for my son’s big special number 4. My grandma, the most important woman in my life, got to celebrate with us, and I was so happy about it. For the first time ever, she got to see one of my fondant cakes, and I was so happy to share it with her. I wanted her to be proud of me, and she was.
all those feelings of happiness and excitement were crashed in a matter of minutes, or maybe it was only seconds.
I don’t even know at this point. I do know that my Grandma was suddenly taken away from me…..F.O.R.E.V.E.R., and I buried her the Monday before Christmas.
NEVER in a million years did I expect to get that tragic phone call. She was in perfect health on Thanksgiving. We laughed, we hugged, we had so much fun together on that day. Then a couple weeks later, she came down with what her doctor said was the flu. Only later, too late, we found out that it was not the flu, but pnuemonia. I went to the hospital to see her. I left the hospital that night thinking she was….yes sick, but going to be fine. We kissed, hugged, laughed, and joked in the hospital. I told her that I would leave so she could rest and I would be back in the morning. She passed away 4 hours later.
I know what some of you whom read this will think: Grandma’s get old and grandma’s die. And although I agree with that, it was so much more that just that. My grandma was more than just a “grandma” to me. We were unseparable since the day I was born when she was only 39 years old. She filled so many voids in my life. She took the place of my absentee father. She was there for me when nobody else was. She was more to me than even a mother could be. She was my best friend. She called me every 3 days just to tell me how much she loved me. I never needed her to tell me because she more than showed it and I knew it, but she still did. My telephone is so quiet now; I miss those calls. I daydream about them. I wish so bad I wouldn’t have erased all her voicemails – if only I had known. I can’t tell you how lost I am without her.
So the week of Christmas, instead of celebrating, I was grieving and planning a funeral. I had never had to help plan a funeral before. I had never been on that side of a funeral home visit. It was the worst thing I have ever had to go through. I don’t wish that upon anybody – EVER! I learned so much, and I don’t ever want my children to have to go through that type of decision making for me. From picking out the last outfit & jewelery, to calling her hair dresser to fix her hair one last time, to picking songs, and announcements, etc. it was just awful. The worst part was having to hear about all the different grades of caskets and vaults, and I will never forget hearing, “Do you want something that won’t allow water and bugs to get in?” Here I was, still in disbelief that this person I loved was gone, and feeling that because I loved her so much that I wanted the very best for her, yet also knowing, that we had a budget, and every thing and every grade of this and that had a cost – and a very hefty one at that. It’s sad….really really sad. I just hope nobody ever has to feel the way I did that day. And I am so very thankful that my babies gave me the strength to get through the most difficult day of my life.
I made a special memorial video that we played at the funeral. If any of you are interested in viewing it, it’s only 10 minutes long and you can see it here: Memorial Video for my Grandmother’s (Me-Ma’s) Funeral
You know what one of the saddest parts about all of this is? I hadn’t seen my mother for 3 years. It was her choice and there was nothing I could do about it because she was angry at me for finding and trying to have a relationship with my biological father. She hadn’t seen my son since he was one, and had never even met my baby girl. My grandmother always cried and apologized to me for my mother’s behavior. I always told her, “Grandma, it’s not your fault. Don’t cry; I’m okay”. And it’s sad that she had to die for my mother to finally see us – at her funeral.
That Lonely Christmas Present that still sits under my tree belongs to my grandma, and my heart doesn’t know what to do with it. I’ve already unwrapped all the gifts that she put under my tree. It felt so strange to open them knowing that she was supposed to be here watching us open them, and knowing that they were the last we would ever get from her. It doesn’t seem right to do anything with the lonely gift sitting under my tree. I guess I am still waiting, hoping that this is all just a nightmare that I am going to wake up from, and that she will soon be here to open it.
Christmas will never be the same for me. I miss you Me-Ma.