I'd love to be signing in here all cheerful and chirpy, to tell you about my most amazing trip to Prague that recently ended. But I need to write first about my great-grammy Esther.
About four years ago my great-grandpa Harold (Grandpa Quit-it!) passed away, just a few weeks after I last saw him (I had visited while Chris was in Iraq). There were a lot of feelings and regrets floating around at that time. Mostly I was mad that I would miss his memorial since I had just been home; trans-atlantic tickets aren't cheap. I was grateful for having seen him that one last time and for having said my goodbyes properly. But mostly, I was mad. Mad at the choices we'd made to move so far away and that I couldn't just drive to New Hampshire. Mad that we had missed several years of holidays without our large family nearby. Mad that the universe had given me 26 years with an amazing great-grandfather, only to take him away in the end. (How about that one? Seriously, grief makes you think crazy things.)
Well, this week his wife, my grammy Esther, also passed away. A lot has changed in four years and, while I feel sad that I won't be able to kiss her cheek again, the emotions I felt after grandpa's passing are long gone. In their place are happiness, calm and patience. Happiness, that I got to know her more than ever since moving over here. We emailed often and I learned just how much we had in common. Calm, thinking of every moment I spent with her, as she was a strong grounding center in my haphazard life. And patience for myself, to allow feelings of regret to pass and disappear. Living so far away has been difficult on many occasions, times like this are certainly at the top of the list. The one thing I need to keep in mind is that we wanted to experience something new... and we did. Regretting that would be a shame, and Gram would not approve in the least.
I didn't know what to think of her death these past few days. I didn't know what to say, or how to react if anyone said something to me, so I mostly said nothing (which worried my family, sorry family!).
While in Prague, staring at some of the most beautiful artwork I have ever seen or wanted to see, it hit me. I don't need to know. I was confused because I wasn't grieving. I wasn't grieving because everything was as it should be. Seeing her one last time would have been nice, but this is where I belong right now. There was no grief in the living of her life, and her passing was only merciful. How could I truly be sad? I wasn't. I'm not. And I hope my family understands this; I think my dad does. I don't want them to think me uncaring or cold, I'm not either of those things. I'm full of love for her and everything she offered me, she truly was a monumental role model for me and will be missed. But I have many, many years of memories and I will write them all down just as she did.
I won't be going to her memorial in May. We had planned on coming home a few short months after that, and flying home in between now and then will only cause stress in an already super stressful situation (moving home will NOT be fun as it is). Again, I hope my family understands. I knew her well, more than any great-granddaughter could hope to know her great-grandmother, and I can say my goodbyes quietly when we get home in August or September.
Her life has re-inspired me to pick up that pioneering spirit and move forward with a head held high. We got our base choices and they seemed bleak at first, adding to a dismal week, but whatever we are handed we will take and make the best of it. I had forgotten that for a moment- that we can get out of a situation what we put into it. But now I remember, and it will all be okay.