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“This is the story about the death of my Grandmother. I used to get really emotional about my story, but I’ve told it to so many people that it’s been easier to share over the years. Yet, it still invokes emotions of intense love and sadness.

I was 18 years old when my Grandmother died in a hospital from heart failure and other health complications. After she died, I entered a room with most of my family members to see my Grandmother’s lifeless body with a tube hanging out of her mouth. Her funeral was quite traumatic for me as well – seeing her in that coffin, I didn’t recognize her.

At the time, I was in shock and numb… all the feelings came later on in the form of nightmares that lasted for years. These nightmares were almost always in a hospital setting and graphic at times.

When I’d wake up from a nightmare, I always felt sad-sad that she died the way she did and was sick much of her life. I had never seen her healthy. She was always using crutches or a wheelchair to get around, needed to take frequent naps and insulin injections, and was in perpetual chronic pain.

For a long time, I wondered if it had been a good idea for me to go into the hospital room after my Grandmother died. There have been many times I wished that I would have stayed outside with my brother.

After her death, my family relied on each other for support. I know that my Mother needed more support in processing and grieving the death of her mother. I remember her being so sad and distraught for about two years. It is clear that I could have used extra support as well.

After years of the dreaded nightmares, one night they suddenly ended. I was able to find peace after finally having a good dream about her. In the dream, 15 years after her death, she walks towards me in an airport. She looked so healthy and vibrant, excited for an adventure, and free from the ailments she experienced in the physical world. She recognized me and said “hi, me Mikey”, gave me the biggest hug then continued on to her destination.

It’s hard to express what this dream meant to me- it was everything I needed and been longing for as I grieved her death. It was reaffirming to see her so happy.

I know without a doubt I will see her again one day, and maybe I can share my love of travel with her. I hope and pray this becomes our reality.

My experiences I had with her in her life, death, and grief taught me to love deeply, with the depth of love I had for my Grandmother. To this day, I have not experienced a hug like the one she would give me. I know she loved me so much and she showed it. I can only hope and strive to give this same kind of love to others.

I talked to her nearly every day and losing her, especially at a young age, was so hard. I miss my Grandmother, she was so dear and special to my heart.

Enjoy your loved ones while they are here. Once they are gone, you can never get the time back. Call them, let them know you love them, and spend as much time as possible with them. Share stories with one another and communicate authentically, share your wins and your struggles with one another. Don’t hold back.”

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