The past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind of changes, significant moments and a whole lot of differences. Two weeks ago this coming Sunday my family lost our Matriarch. My grandmother died on Sunday February 5,2017. I can’t say that it has fully sunk in yet, I suppose grief takes awhile.
When The Giant and I took our first plane ride together (after almost 10 years together) I tried to focus on the reality we would be facing. It was our first return to the Midwest in almost 6 months (which may not seem like a lot, but for someone who is still adjusting to life in the PNW, this should have been a happy moment.)
Now I was informed of the declining health of my grandma, and I have seen people when they reach the end of their time. I can’t say I was ready for what happened, but the fact that the Hospice staff were so good to her, helped with some of the pain. The Giant and I managed to make it to see her around 7:30pm that day. I sat with her, got to hold her hand and tell her I loved her. The Giant and I said our goodbyes (for the evening we thought) and headed back to my hometown. It was about 30 minutes after we made it to our destination that I had received the phone call. The shock, despair and pain that comes with losing someone has settled around us in the last week and a half.
We were able to attend the services for her, as well as spend some limited time with extended family. Despite the pain and sorrow that enveloped us all I would like to think it was a celebration of her life. This women who defied the odds and raised six children on her own. Who took it upon herself to not only get a good education but instilled that idea in her kids, grandkids and great grandkids. We were able to acknowledge that she was so many things to so many people, but at the core she was a proud, brilliant, funny and compassionate woman who not only showed me what it meant to be an adult, but also how important it is to embrace the pain of life, to allow all that is bittersweet to wash over you and acknowledge that in the end you live on in others memories.
For my grandmother, for myself and for the simple reminder that things are a matter of perspective I got my first tattoo.
She is on my left wrist, to remind me of her support in the fiber arts and who I am as a person. A flamingo as testament to her humor, her wit and the idea of going your own way. Lastly i drew the design to embrace her life as a teacher, an artist and a person who couldn’t be held back.
There is beauty in the good grief, of a life well lived. It honors the memories and moments that are interwoven in all that we do. In the end we may not know where we are headed, but our hearts live on in those we loved.