I want to share with you a true story today. It is the story of a woman who lost her grandfather several years ago. Her grief and the hope that she emerged with after it was all said and done. Told in her own words, here it is:
From a very early time in life, she always perceived that she was his favorite. The truth of the matter was that she needed to be someone’s favorite. Her mother and father were still children themselves and more involved in blindly searching for a way to fulfill their own needs.
He was her Grandpa. She lived with him and her Granny until she was 6 years old and she bonded with him like a daughter would bond with her father. When she was three years old her biological father abandoned her for his best friend, alcohol, her mother gave birth to her first sibling (her first sister).
Grandpa was always there for her. At age six after her mom remarried, she moved away to a neighboring city with her mom and he would specifically come and pick her up to spend weekends with he and Granny. He would call her on the phone and they would talk to each other like best friends. As she grew older, she would do the same with him. It was like he knew in his heart that things were not good in her new home and he and Granny were her only lifeline to the love and nurturing that she needed. He always made sure that he was there when she needed him.
When she ran away from home as a teenager he was the one who found her while driving around looking for her in his car. When she tried to end her life in early adulthood, he was the one who was outside of the hospital room door pacing for many hours until he knew everything was ok. When she did not have a home for herself and her young son, he provided that home and made sure that she had what they needed. He became to her young son the same that he had been to her all of her life. Many would say that he had spoiled her, but she had needed someone to spoil her. No one else in this world had ever loved and cared for her as much as he did.
Life went on and at some point she realized that he was not as perfect as she had once thought he was and he became old and bitter because of all of the trash that he had been given to deal with in his life, So many people had taken advantage of his kindness and his desire to provide for his family.
He became old and was in a lot of pain. His mind started to deteriorate. For some reason, even though he had many offspring, it was only Granny, one of his daughters and the much loved granddaughter who realized that he was entering into his last days on this earth. When anyone else would come to visit, he would put on his best clothes and put his best foot forward. He would pretend that he was better than he was. No one else in the family would believe that he was in the condition that he was really in.
At first she would want to react to some of the things that he would say with humor and did not want to believe them but then when she would go to see him and he would not be in his right mind, she knew that something serious was wrong. She assisted in taking him to doctor visits, taking his car keys away from him when he would not stop driving, babysitting him when Granny needed to be taken somewhere, taking them to the grocery store and visiting him regularly, giving input to the aunt about his care and how he should be cared for. It was very sad and she shed many tears while doing those things and in private.
She was the one who called the ambulance to come get him the day he went to the hospital and never came back home. She smiled while he complained and fussed about the call and as soon as the ambulance drivers arrived he welcomed them and told them that Granny would be baking them a cake and bringing it by the fire station.
She was the one who had the horrible outburst in the hospital directed at her sister as the family gathered at the hospital awaiting his death. She was in the hospital room when he breathed his last labored breath.
He was only 84 which seems a young age to her now, but he was happy to go. He had wanted to move on. He had wanted to leave this life as he knew it. The pain had become too great for him to bear anymore.
She was glad for him. She had seen her husband lead him into a relationship with Christ just a few months earlier.
Then there was the funeral and all of the activities accompanied by a few of her tears. She had already shed most of her tears. And after the funeral, all she could do was talk about him and celebrate his life. She told the funny stories as well as the poignant ones. She celebrated who he had been to her. At times she could tell it made people a little uncomfortable.
A couple of months after the funeral and things had settled down, she had a dream about him that was as real as real could be. She was walking down a dirt path in the country woods and the sun was shining. She saw someone walking towards her and as he got closer she could tell it was him but he was in faded blue overalls, was no longer wearing the glasses that she had always known him to wear and looked like pictures she had seen of him when he had been in his twenties and thirties. He was carrying a toolbox and she knew then beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was up there in heaven helping people in his new, whole body that was no longer in pain, that he no longer needed those glasses and was helping prepare the place for those who will be coming to be with him, soon.
She had been his favorite and she had needed to be someone’s favorite. She will see him again someday and she can’t wait.
This is the true and real story of her grief.
I believe that this true story is a depiction of what a healthy grief would look like. It looks as if it was a process of feelings that transpired over the period of several months.
Again, here are the elements of the grief process:
You can find all except Bargaining in this lady’s grief process. Also, she started experiencing the grief process before the actual loss of life took place because she was grieving the loss that she was already experiencing. The loss of who he had been to her all of her life. On the other hand, some of the family members probably had a totally different grief experience than she did because they were not observing what she was seeing before he died.
Anyway, I believe that I have said enough for today. I will be sharing more about grief in the weeks to come. Maybe another story or two.
Love and blessings to you,