Today my grief ends. I’ve had a cloud of grief hanging over me for more than a month and just when I though I had gotten my groove back and felt so much better last week, I got another devastating blow. I make it a point to not post too much about my personal life, but maybe this is the only way I can flush it out of my system and start to feel normal again.
^this was a woogie wednesday project we did back in 2008 – a portrait of 4 generations of women
My grandmother passed away a few weeks before Christmas. Her death was something I knew would hurt me worst than anything and I remember a few years ago when my dad suddenly passed away I told my husband that when my grandmother passed away that is when I would be totally beside myself. And I think I was. I knew it was coming and had a week to, for lack of a better word, “prepare” for what was going to happen. That might have made it easier for me but it was still just as hard as I thought it would be. I not only lost a grandmother (my last living grandparent), but my daughter lost a great-grandmother and I think that was even harder to bear. It’s so hard seeing a child grieve but also a blessing to have the comfort of that child when you’re grieving. Her sweet words and tender heart have amazed me.
As I said I got my groove back last week and then got another devastating blow. Thursday night my grandparent’s house, the house that my grandfather grew up in (he would have turned 101 this year), the house he raised his family in, the house where all my childhood memories seem to come from, the house where my daughter was creating her own memories at last summer, and I extending mine, was struck by lightening and destroyed. Burned to the ground. My mother came over early Friday morning and I knew something was up. She said she had news but it wasn’t about anyone and everyone was fine, but it is devastating and I should sit down. At that moment I knew what it was. Weird that I knew, but I knew. That second I felt I had lost everything from my grandparents. I had lost them all over again, I had lost the feeling of being at the house, the sound of the screen door slamming, the porch swing that had rocked so many generations, but most importantly their legacy. I was completely broken.
After a total freak out, I somehow got it together and went out to the house to see. The scene was heartbreaking. Still on fire that next morning and I left it that afternoon – still on fire. It was so surreal and still is. I sent Walker off to school that day without telling her why I was crying but let her know everything was ok and I would tell her about it after school. It was her 100 day celebration so I wanted her to enjoy her party. When I picked her up from school she immediately asked me why I was crying. We got in the car and I told her. She teared up a little but I don’t think she knew what that really meant. We headed back to the house and when we pulled up, she knew exactly what it meant. Her little face scrunched up and filled with tears and started sobbing. Seeing her so hurt, hurt me worse. My husband took her around the house and I could hear that they had started making a game out of it and seeing if she recognized anything (which there was hardly anything) and that seemed to help her cope. She was very glad to see her tree swing was still there and that we would be bringing it home for the backyard. That night when I tucked her in she asked for a picture of the house to put in her room. I am thankful for the memories she has of it.
I had my husband email a few of my clients that were expecting work due to them on Friday and I thought his simple words, summed up the importance of the house to my family:
“Her grandparents’ farm house (almost 100 years old) was struck by lightning and burned down last night. Thankfully nobody was living there at the time. She has a very tight-knit extended family and that home was the epicenter of their family. As you can imagine, the emotional connection to that home is huge.”
And now for the pictures. I debated showing them but I am. I guess this post is pretty much about me healing so seeing a comparison would be good. The neighbor across the street took pictures as it was burning. We are so grateful she took them, but they are awful and I don’t have those to show.
^view from the front yard
^view from the garage – my granddaddy had a love/hate relationship with lawn movers – you can see 2 of them here
Thankfully a lot of things had been taken out of the house for safe keeping. There was still a lot of china, silver flatware, glassware that was lost among the other things that had no monetary value but did have sentimental value to us all, but the majority of it was not there. We are most thankful for not having to tell my grandparents that their house was no longer there. My grandmother would of taken it in stride and would have put her energy in comforting all of us, but my granddaddy would of never recovered from it.
So from this day forward my grieving will end. My body and mind can’t take it anymore and I am done telling people about it all. My aunt summed it up the other day that she felt she had been living in a dream for the last two months and I think that’s how we all feel. But I am ready to wake up. Through hard times come blessings and I can see and appreciate them and for that I am beyond grateful.
Thanks for sticking with me on this one guys. I just needed to put it all out there.