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  1. My father's dad passed away very young, when my dad was a teenager. It pained him that his father wasn't able to know his grandchildren. But, as the granddaughter of the grandfather I never met, I can tell you I think about him often. (Particularly now, given I do believe my dad has reunited with his father after 60 years). My dad enjoyed telling us stories about his parents and grandparents. To the point that I felt I got to know them in their best light, through the eyes of someone who idolized them. It didn't take away the fact that I was sad I never got to meet my grandfather. But, I still feel I knew him and could love him for raising my father as he did and making my dad the best father I could have had. That's the legacy I was left with and one I feel compelled to share. It's now my job to share his stories, so his grandchildren know who they came from and how much he loved them. It's a job I wish I didn't have to do, but one that is the last gift I can give him. But, without being overly optimistic about something that is so inexplicable harsh and brutal. It also... just sucks. And while I feel like a 10 year old for saying such a thing, it's the truest thing I can say. It's like a giant vortex that sucks the air out of room, the heat from your body, and removes the color from the sky. The father of a very old friend of mine has cancer and while we were talking the other day, she asked me how I was doing. I got the impression that she was trying to come to terms with her own situation and the very real possibility that her father may leave her soon. I tried really hard to think of some words that would be comforting. I've told many that I was lucky to have my father in my life as long as I did. That is true. But it doesn't acknowledge the reality of the situation and I felt it was important to be honest with her. So, I told her it sucks. Quite a few times actually. While I feel responsible for carrying on his legacy and I am grateful to have such a legacy to share, it doesn't change the fact that it's mind-numblingly awful and will always be mind-numblingly awful. And although some days I feel that I can find joy in sharing him with others, there are other days when it simply ... sucks. I'm sorry for babbling here. I'm still trying to sort myself out. In trying to give you some thoughts that make this less horrible, it just proves to me that it can't be done. Your mother loved you. My dad loved me. It just makes it that much harder to support ourselves now that they're gone. It's a blessing and a curse. But, I think we both appreciate the fact that it was such a blessing.
  2. It's been 6 weeks since my dad passed away and I still haven't cried over it. I've had some tears and sad moments. But, every day I get out of bed and do the day. (Not always productively) When I told my sister our dad had died, she let out this heartbroken keen. My brother broke down at the funeral. But, me... I put my hands up and feel emotion, none of which ends with me crying. Initially I thought it just felt too surreal for me to recognize he was gone. But, the weight of his death, while my brain acknowledges it to be true, hasn't really hit me yet and I wonder if it ever will. And perhaps that's just the way of things. Each person has their own expression of grief. And while I think it would be cathartic to have a really good, long cry -- it's just not in the cards for me. But, I know I miss him. For me, I think the missing is more physical than emotional. I miss hugging him or hearing his voice. I feel it deep in my chest. It just doesn't translate to crying. Even now, writing this I'm just getting teary-eyed - so I know I'm in the present and not in denial... but, I just keep chugging along. (Which to be honest is what he would tell me to do) The other shoe may drop one day and I hope I'm able to catch it before it hits the ground. But, damn, he would be so mad at me if I just waited around for that shoe instead of trying to live a happy life. I imagine your mom would feel the same. And I feel sure, based on your description, that she would be so proud of you for taking care of your little one and being present. Making sure that her grandchild will know her and the strength of his mother. Because, while a parent's death is expected at some point in a child's life, I don't think we're ever really prepared for it. Someone who has been a primary presence in your life, suddenly takes a different form. And that's hard to process or comprehend. Each of us have to make our own way discovering this new path. And as sure as I'm sitting here, I feel confident that both of us will do our bestest best to honor them and love them until it's our turn to pass the torch.
  3. I'm sorry to hear you're having such a difficult struggle, Breanna. I wish I could give you some magic phrase that would make it easier, but I haven't found one. What helps for me (at least in the moment) is lots of writing, drawing, and talking with a therapist. For my brother, he's found solace in cycling (something my dad really enjoyed). For my mom, it's cooking one of my dad's favorite meals every Sunday (because she enjoyed cooking for my dad). Your relationship with your grandmother was yours alone and no one else but you can share the impact she had on you and the world. Figuring out how to share her with others close to you will certainly be a challenge. But, whether you talk about her life or follow in her footsteps or even reach out to a stranger on the Internet who needs help - all of that is a reflection of your love for each other.
  4. Hi Breanna - I'm a bit on the old side (40s), so I have experienced the loss of all my grandparents and last month my dad. While I learned a lot with their passings (still trying to work through my dad's death), I personally can't guide you on the loss of such an important person at a young age. But, my dad could and he was the most important person in my life. He lost his father and both of his grandparents (all people he was exceptionally close to) when he was around your age, just starting his adult life. He relied on the strength of his mother and his own insight to determine his best path. The loss of his father colored every aspect of his life, but I like to think it also made him exceptionally determined to live honestly and thoughtfully and joyfully. Your life moving forward is the best tribute you can give your grandma. To share her life with those you love (now and in the future), to accomplish things she would be proud of, and even make mistakes that her memory can guide you through. Those of us who have been loved by great people are so incredibly lucky and that kind of good fortune doesn't end when they leave us, it just takes a different form.
  5. Thank you Kay. My other grandfather was ... to put it nicely... a bit of a grump. And my dad was always aware that his father would have been a terrific grandpa, too! I am sorry that I never got to meet him. But, I do have my dad's memories to live vicariously through (and a few old, silent home movies). It also gives me some comfort that my dad is with his parents again. He hadn't seen his father in over 60 years. I wrote something in my journal last week that still rings pretty true to me. My dad loved me and I loved him and now I have to carry all that love around for both of us. It is without a doubt an enormous responsibility and if I'm being honest, a heavy burden. I wish I could say for certain that I’m up for the challenge. For now, I'm just going to take my dad's advice (which he gave me when my cat was dying a few years ago), "you don’t have much of a choice, just take it a day at a time."
  6. There's no beginning to this post. If you've watched The Good Place, it will be a bit "Jeremy Beremy," but I'll try to be as straightforward as I can. My entire life has been ruled by what I "should" do, how to do things, say things the right way. Coupled with a healthy dose of consistent depressive disorder, I've been treading water most of my life to remain functional and independent, which I've been successful at. Good job, good house, a cat that mostly likes me. However, treading water doesn't lead to fulfilling or satisfying relationships with others and it doesn't lend itself to dreaming big or focusing on myself. Through all of that the one constant I had in unconditional love was my father. Always level headed, with a smile or a hug. Supportive and kind. Funny and loving. Although, I couldn't (or didn't want to) tell him everything that was going not so right in my life, I felt like I could be myself with him. I felt safe. My dad died nearly a month ago without warning. He had no health issues that we were aware of. But, there was a ticking time bomb and we didn't know enough to stop it. If you remember how John Ritter died, a faulty aorta which can lead to a fast and unexpected death. My dad died the same way. Looking back, the family is of the thought that both my father's dad and grandfather probably had the same issue (they died at 55 and 65). I didn't talk to my dad regularly, but I would go out once a month to have dinner at my parent's house. We went to religious services together a few times a year. Once or twice a year he would drive out to the City when my mom went to visit friends out of town and we would go for dinner at a restaurant he liked and sometimes out to a movie. But, because he wasn't a daily/weekly presence in my life, it's easy to forget (or ignore) he's gone. I sometimes have to force myself to remember. I'm lucky in that I do have two voicemails on my phone, as well as some recordings he made and even some old family movies of him as a child. But, lately I've been thinking that it's time to take ownership of my life and move on from the things I should do and focus more on what I want to do. That's what he wanted more than anything - to be happy. And since I haven't been happy for so long, I feel even more compelled to make that happen. It's a double edged sword. Finding my joy now that he's gone and I can't share it with him is heartbreaking. But not finding my joy now that he's gone feels like I'm not honoring him, that I'm taking his legacy for granted. There's the added concern that I won't be able to find my joy at all because I'm just such a mess as a person. I have a therapist who I like and I've been circling around this topic for a couple of weeks, though this is the first time I'm articulating it. I thought it might be helpful to get input from others who might be in the same boat and how you picked up the torch (so to speak).
  7. I lost my dad a month ago (your original post is very close to the date). It was sudden and without warning. He also had symptoms a few days before he died that potentially could have saved his life. But he downplayed them and I honestly believe that he was just optimistic and thought everything would be fine, because he had no health issues. I'm older than you and my dad was in his late 70s. Given that his father died at 55 and his grandfather was 65, I know I should feel fortunate. I just feel sad. There is so much I haven't yet accomplished that I wish he could be here for (or help guide me). I honestly thought we had a few more good years left. But, your post reminded me of my grandmother. Perhaps the strongest lady I know. In the span of three consecutive years, she lost her husband, father, and mother. Her youngest child graduated college the year after that and her oldest child got married two years later. The joy of those events must have been intermingled with pain. But, I think her strength was tested when at the age of 80, her granddaughter died in a car accident. And her immediate thought, was why not me? Because that would make sense. Why would anyone choose to take a 25-year-old girl when her grandmother felt ready to join her loved ones? Yet she lived another 15 years. She witnessed the births of great-grandchildren, attended the weddings, graduations. It doesn't make the loss easier to know that she was able to enjoy these things. But, I like to think that she was with us for so long as a way to witness family moments for those who aren't able to be there. My father never "got over" the death of his dad. But, I know he felt lucky with his lot. He enjoyed his life and I think that is his greatest legacy. In the face of pain and loss, he was able to carry on. To make sure his children knew who their grandfather was even though they couldn't meet him. To make sure that he was living a life that would honor the love of his parents and what they wanted for him, which is what every parent wants for their child: to be happy, to be loved, to live their authentic life. I have no doubt that is what your dad would want for you. I know it feels heavy and hard to carry on that legacy. It feels the same to me. But, with time and support, I hope we're both able to take a few steps forward. Because our dads taught us well and loved us well. The world needs to know that.
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