Sunday, March 3, 2013

Challenges and Memories (Slice of Life 3 of 31)

This post is a part of the Slice of Life challenge which is hosted on the Two Writing Teachers blog.  The month of March the challenge is to write a blog post a day.

If you have ever lost someone close to you, you know that the grief can hit in odd places and come out of nowhere from a reaction to something in your world.  No matter how many years have passed, there are things that happen which slap you in the face with memories of a loved one who has passed and cause the waterworks to start.  There are also those moments that make you pause and smile, thinking about a good memory.

In the past few days, I have found myself thinking a lot about my grandmother.  It was triggered by my choice in books to read this week.  I picked up Invincible Microbe: Tuberculosis and the Never-Ending Search for the Cure and was fascinated by the information I read.  This book made me think about my grandmother because her mother contracted TB and was taken to a sanatorium when she was a young girl.  I found myself really imagining what that must have been like for a young girl to lose her mother in this way.  Her mother did not die for a few years after leaving home, but also never came home.  What struck me most and really made me pause while reading was the idea that the medicine for a disease often comes too late for many people.  I have often lamented the fact that the advances in the treatment of heart disease came too late for my father to be saved.  Did my grandmother feel the same way as they found cures for TB during her lifetime?  Did she feel it was unfair that her mother was taken from her?  I wish I had talked more to her about this.

My grandmother was always the person I went to when I had something I needed to talk about.  She was able to listen in a way that made me feel special and loved.  When my father had his first heart attack, I was 9 and he was only 37.  He had a massive heart attack and had to have a pacemaker from then on.  I remember being able to talk to my grandmother about all the things I couldn't tell my parents.  I felt so angry.  It was so unfair that this had to happen to my dad and that I had to change everything because of it.  I talked through it with Grandma.  Now, as an adult, I realize that this must have been a difficult conversational theme for her.  She must have been able to empathize in a real way with my feelings because she might have had some of them herself.  I miss my grandmother every day.

Of course, after spending some time remembering my grandmother, I was feeling a bit nostalgic.  And then, I watched an old episode of How I Met Your Mother last night.  At the end, Marshall is told that his father had a heart attack and died.  And just like that, I was immersed in my own grief over my father's death.  Watching a sitcom is supposed to be uplifting, right?  My father passed away over twenty years ago, but there are still many moments that slap me in the face and surprise me.  Luckily, since it has been so many years, that feeling doesn't stay with me for too long.

Today I find myself feeling nostalgic and remembering two amazing people.  Here's to the marathon Monopoly games with my grandma that lasted all weekend.  Here's to long car rides with the sunroof open, windows down, and Peter, Paul, and Mary blasting on the radio with my dad.  Here's to living my life to make each of them proud and loving their memories with joy not sadness.  


  1. How fortunate you were to have your Grandmother to talk to. I know exactly what you mean about being overcome at odd moments, but agree with you that honoring the memories of our loved ones by living joyfully is the right choice. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Here's to remembering. The idea that time changes our grief is one with which I am struggling. I worry that it means we leave our loved one behind. But maybe we put them aside and live alongside of them.

  3. I love the last lines of your piece. As we live with joy and purpose we take the best into the future.

  4. My piece today was about mourning - remembering... Everyone manages their feelings in their own ways.