My heart hurts today. A year ago today was the last weekend I saw my grandmother alive.
That’s a weird sentence to write. It’s been almost a year since she passed, but it’s still super surreal to me. I love my mom and I love my dad, but my grandparents did a lot for me when I was growing up and helping raise me.
I have stories none of my other cousins have because I used to live at my grandparent’s house for the summer. I slept at their house in the back room with the quilted blanket watching the car lights from Route 7 occassionally light the room. I helped her hang clothes on the clotheslines while listening for the buzzer to go off in the store (they owned a campground) announcing someone was there. I picked strawberries, blueberries, even poatoes with her. I was and still am the first grandchild. I’m supposed to be strong.
But it hurts.
I’m not the most outwardly emotional person in the family. When everyone cries, I suck it up. So today it has been extremely hard not to let myself cry when Timehop reminded me that a year ago my grandparents had driven up to Vermont to see my youngest cousin’s graduation. I drove over from New Hampshire to join them, and to this day, I’m so grateful that I did.
I didn’t know it would be the last time I saw Gram. I didn’t know that her handing me a container of lemon bath soap would mean I sparingly use it now, but I still keep it in the bathroom under the sink, just in case.
I didn’t know I wouldn’t want to go camping anymore, not because I hate camping or don’t like the bugs, but because it makes me think of cooking fruit pies over the open fire with her just a year ago.
I didn’t know her asking that day if she could help me plan a surprise for my mother’s 50th birthday would mean a lot more than just helping me pay for the plane ticket. It meant even after she passed, that we kept the trip a secret from my mom until I arrived because it’s what Gram would have wanted. She would have wanted us to really surprise my mom.
What would have been her birthday is in a little over a month and we’re having services for her in Vermont. I’m nervous. I’ve been to Florida twice since she passed to see my grandfather, so I know it’s real. But for some reason, these services scare me. I don’t want to even think of letting go. I don’t really want to acknowledge it. But I have to. So, today, I’m thinking, a lot. And I’ll keep wearing the ring my grandmother gifted me (it’s her birth stone), and maybe I’ll even pull her sweatshirt out of my closet tonight.