A Sad-Happy post

I need an outlet, so I guess blogging works.

Since my last post I found out my step-grandmother, who’s had Covid, is unable to eat and they think she will be gone soon. So my family and I are planning to say goodbye later today.

When I first heard she was sick, I wasn’t very upset, things happen, she’s been on the verge of dying anytime for ears now in Hospice care with Alzheimer’s.

This will be the first person close to me who’s died of COVID, I guess I am lucky it has been so long, and no one else in my family has died of it.

I didn’t feel much before, but now I think I was suppressing it, as I tend to suppress sadness, I was never taught how to handle it well, in my house sadness =depressed/suicidal, so I became very afraid of that feeling.

But just plain sadness is good, it shows you care about stuff that happens around you. I am working on that.

I guess I can commemorate this post to my step-grandmother, or Grammy, as we always called her.

Though we aren’t blood related, I was closest to her out of all my grandparents. before her disease got so bad we couldn’t really talk anymore, and I grew into an awkward teen who wasn’t sure of who I could trust anymore.

Before I had other friends though, she was my outlet to talk about my home problems. She’d listen to my complain about my dad and my other toxic acquaintances for 30 minutes, almost every day for a while. Looking back, I don’t know how she put up with it, but it helped me not become discouraged.

I got embarrassed about it after a while an stopped calling, though she still affectionately referred to me as her “phone buddy” and asked why I wouldn’t call anymore. I didn’t know what to say. I think the abuse and adolescence combined were getting to me. I felt stupid for complaining, and felt like I should handle it through church.

I don’t know, and I will never be able to ask, if she saw it as abusive, but she would at least agree m dad shouldn’t treat me that way. house she got annoyed at me from time to time if I pushed to talk longer, or called at a bad time, overall she was a great sport about it.

I know a bit about her background. She used to model, she was really gorgeous as a young woman. We look nothing alike, though I’ve been told I could model too, but we both liked make up and clothes and she gave me some of my first make up and beauty tips.

I guess in a way she was a maternal figure in my life. And when it went away, I didn’t know what to feel.

For several years her memory has been too bad to really have long conversations, and she’s been in hospice so I only see her once or twice a year, and it stresses her out to talk for longer than 10 minutes.

So i have focused on the thought that she is a Christian, and I will have to wait till heaven to really talk to her again.

I suspect my coping mechanism is not a very healthy one. It’s okay to still be upset about all this, even if I have hope.

I don’t know why I was so confused as to how to act, but I always felt guilty about not talking anymore, and I pushed it away. The whole thing made me uncomfortable, and then I felt guilty for being uncomfortable with the dementia and other stuff.

I know now that’s a normal thing to struggle with, but no one told me that, and no one really asked me if I was okay. I didn’t expect them to, I grow up with my emotional needs being ignored all the time unless I absolutely begged for attention, or even argued for it… and even then, I still didn’t get it, or I got it very grudgingly.

M grandparents were an exception tot hat, at least this one and her husband, though things still got awkward if my dad was around, as he liked to start fights. Still, about the only unconditional love I experienced as a kid came from that source.

When my grandma, her husband, died nearly 2 years ago, I wasn’t sure how I felt then either. We were never close, but he at least invested time and money into us, paying for my braces, and giving us gifts to help us with our interests. And listening to us sing and recite and stuff. I think my dad got jealous, honestly, and tried to make it awkward by telling us lots of terrible stories about how he grew up.

Knowing my dad lies and exaggerates now, I question if it was all true, or as true, as he told us, I’ll probably never know that either in this life.

I’m not sure it really matters, all us girls wished we’d just been left to pass our own judgment on our grandparents without feeling like we couldn’t like them because of our dad’s past. Maybe they were different people then, but who they are now is trying to be better, right?

At my grandpa’s funeral, my dad was upset, but also torn because he never liked his father or got along with him, or felt loved by him.

I wonder if I will feel the same when he dies, I hope not.

But it confused me, and I got confused about my step-grandmother also. She was a really nice lady as long as I knew her, but used to be into bad stuff, and an enabler for the other toxic people, she always had a very forgiving attitude towards people, for better or worse.

That made her by far the least toxic person in that part of the family, but my dad made sure we knew about the past, even at an age it was hardly appropriate for us to know about it at.

So, now what?

I’ve come to realize that I don’t need to hold my dad’s grudges. I value knowing the truth about people, but if it is in the past, I don’t think I always need to know, unless it still affects them now.

And I could know they were dysfunctional without needing the gritty details. Some things you should not hear about your family, especially if they became Christians.

I can say this much, Grammy would never take sides or bad mouth people like the others. I felt safer talking to her because of that. I didn’t feel safe with my dad or mom, they’d repeat stuff I said, sometimes to the whole family. Sometimes to strangers.

But I don’t want to go on about my abuse right now, I think it’s just a distraction.

Still, it does color a lot of my memories, making them more difficult to understand, and sort through.

I remember Grammy took us to museums, some really fun places, as part of our homeschooling, you could say. We loved one where there was a stage you could dress up and perform on, with working lights.

And before she got too sick to go out, she’d take us Christmas shopping, we’d get $50 each, to get whatever we wanted.

And we got to play all these cool computer games (back when they still had those, and not just apps and video games) on her computer, and play with old toys she had. The she gave us later some of her more prized possessions, these old china dolls, really expensive stuff now.

And I got some of her clothes later, I wanted something to remember her by, and a few pieces of jewelry.

Yeah, I guess we did do the most together. I’ve spent more time over all with my maternal grandmother, but our personalities and beliefs clash too much for intimacy. She’s a real nice lady, but it’s never going to be ideal, unless something changes.

Which, is okay, though I wish it were different, I can accept that.

But Grammy having dementia, as well as lupus, was just another sad thing on my list of sad things, and I never knew how to process them.

I don’t think I will stay sad for very long, I am at peace about her soul, at least, and I want her suffering to be over. After all, she will be far happier in heaven than she ever was here, and it’s not separation for forever. I believe that.

The Bible says we are not like those who mourn without hope, we have hope, though we still mourn. Knowing our latter glory will be greater than our former.

I don’t know if heaven is a place where we walk around like the classic idea of the afterlife, whether it is somewhere we rest until God recreates heaven and earth, or whether it is both.

I do believe, whatever it is, it is like Lewis’s idea of “further up and further in” that God is eternal, and we will always be drawing closer to Him, but never far from Him again.

From the stories I hear, people experience being taken to heaven much like going through a door, or transporting to a different dimension, but until I go myself, I won’t really know, and it wouldn’t surprise if it’s different for everyone, what in life is ever the same for us all?

Some people think pets go to heaven, others don’t.

My thought is, if we love it, truly, it will be there, in some form or another. That we humans give life to whatever we love, as the Bible seems to teach it was meant to be.

But, that’s a theory, and what can I really know?

Some people feel God’s presence strongly in grief, others don’t. For me, I tend to feel alone when I am pushing away my sadness, but when I welcome it, I find God is there, waiting.

I can’t write anything like “A Grief Observed” to due credit to the beauty of human life and love, I still need to learn so much more about both.

And while I like to forget about death, I know I can’t escape it anymore than the next person.

I don’t buy the “live forever in our hearts” line, because it seems too small to me.

I am glad at least that Grammy is a Christian, my only other deceased relatives were not, and that’s it’s own pain, knowing that.

I guess it still hurts, and I can feel it, when I let myself, but it doesn’t have to crush me.

I remember when my great uncle died, I kept thinking “The old has gone, the new has come” as my cousins had recently been born.

I don’t know why I had that line stuck in my head.

But I’ve thought of loss in that was since, old things pass away, all things become new. For Christians, growing old and dying means we become new.

Our final reenactment of what Jesus said about going into the ground and dying, in order to be reborn and bear fruit.

Why do Christians still die if we have eternal life?

I guess because Jesus physically died, and we are supposed to imitate him, and he who loses his life for Christ will find it. Our lives symbolically reenact Jesus, even to death. At least, we do not have to die alone, like him.

There may be some people alive now who will never die, who knows? But most of us will. That has been one of the main reasons people come to God over. Funny that now that fewer people believe in God, more people kill each other and themselves, as if the fear of oblivion isn’t enough to keep us from doing evil.

In the end, love is the only thing that really shows us how to be good.

And the loss of love is the worst loss.

And for that, I am still sad, but, I think, The Notebook has it right, love never dies, not really.

Interstellar pointed out that love transcends space and time, we love people who are dead, who are far away, who we haven’t met yet, like our babies, or even our lovers, sometimes (Like in Your Name).

I rather think that Love must be eternal also, that we love people before we know them, and after we’ve forgotten them, and only our mortal limits keep us from realizing it. You’ve met people you just clicked with, right? Why?

Something just happens with love.

We can love people we met once for one minute.

Anyway, perhaps my grandmother will pull through, I can’t know for sure, but whether she does not not, I wanted to honor her life a little bit today.

Until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

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