Grandma Crystal, Grampa Joe, Our oldest daughter, and second oldest son
Grampa Joe and my husband's and I first birth son, now age 14
I'm going to share something. In the past there was some important people to me that passed away and I didn't attend their funeral or celebrations of life. I wanted to remember them alive and in my own unique way. I didn't want to attend their funerals because I didn't internally want to believe they died. I didn't want to witness others mourning, and I didn't want to feel a loss and in some twisted way, I didn't think I was important enough to attend in the first place. I regret not attending and paying my respects. Occasionally I think about what these people meant to me, and I feel so self absorbed protecting myself without paying my respects, sending my love, finding closure and most importantly supporting others during their grieving. I hid. I was a coward. I found excuses not to attend. It was selfish of me. Today I attended a celebration of life with my first family, and with my first husband. My ex-husbands grandfather passed away. An individual that embraced me as his granddaughter for twenty four years. I never had grandparents and when I married my first husband, his grandparents were mine. Both passed now but I have so many fond memories. Their door was always open. Even after my divorce, and in a new marriage, my new husband was welcome. I can write about countless stories although I will keep this post strictly to what I want to share. I attended what I would call, my grandfathers celebration of life today. I seen family that I haven't seen for years. It's unfortunate that someone has to pass in order for people to get together although it brought me a new enlightenment. A different outlook, and a new beginning for me. As we hugged, and we all caught up with each others lives, and reminisced about "Grampa Joe" I realized I am no exception to loss. I can't hide, and as we age, loss becomes more frequent. As other family members stood up and told their stories, and explained their relationship they had with Grampa Joe, my heart started to pound contemplating if I should speak. I questioned myself if I was "important enough" to speak after all these years. Then while everyone was mingling, munching on sandwiches I walked towards where Grampa Joe's remains and pictures laid before everyone....and then I spoke for the first time in my life about someone who was dear to me. I started by stating I will never feel regret again missing an opportunity to pay my respect to someone I loved and to share what they meant to me. We aren't alone in this world, we all will have awkward moments, situations that we feel that are unbearable but ultimately the most important fact that exists, even after death, we are all equal. Today after many years, I had a good conversation with my ex husband. I admit, I had a lot of resentment, and I cried out on my deck a few days ago questioning, "Can I forgive? Forget?" "Am I worthy attending this celebration of life?" My answer, and what I want to share is....it doesn't matter what the difficulty is, we can and are able to forgive, we are able to forget and I am (we all are worthy) of and for each other. Forgiving doesn't mean that you're going to have that person in your life, it means peace within yours. 41 years old and I'm still having enlightenment's to share with all of you. Leaving the service today I felt that Grandpa Joe blessed me with not only remembering his kind and giving heart, his open home, and all his talents.....I felt his presence, his love and his reassurance that I was that granddaughter worthy OF his love. From now on.......I will remember today, a day that was embraced and full of love, a day not only to celebrate an amazing man, it was a day of affirmations. To confirm that all of us are worthy, we are all special to each other and we can all change just given the chance. My chance was given from my ex-mother in law. (I hate to introduce her in that way) But she messaged me, hoping that I could attend her fathers service today. A message I will never forget. Long story longer, when I say we're equal, I mean in a worldly way - we all will experience loss, we all feel and question ourselves, what we have to constantly remember is life is too short, that dash in between our birth and our death needs nourishment, needs to keep connections while we're alive. We need daily to say, "I love you" or to say how important you are....even if we can't see each other during our busy schedules. This is for anyone that's in your heart. It shouldn't take a service to remind us to live compassionately with or for each other, and my own lesson learned is funerals, celebrations of life (whatever you call them) are not just important to everyone else attending, it's important for ourselves, for our own closures. I will never say, "Goodbye" because anyone who means a great deal to me, will forever remain in my memories and within my heart. Rest in peace and thank you Grampa Joe, and my beautiful ex-mother in law for reconfirming that I am worthy, and I belong where my heart still loves, and my mind still remembers.