Family means everything to me. Traditions, meals, time spent together. I was blessed to grow up with these values, and it all started with my grandparents. My sister and I spent weekends with my dad’s parents on a regular basis. Sleepovers were filled with free play, bedtime stories, yummy treats and staying up late to watch Love Boat. My babcia (grandmother) was the strongest woman I knew. She told it like it was, but loved with all her soul. She was so proud of her family. You could always count on her. She wasn’t afraid of hard work, and was an amazing cook.
When she had to live in the home it was hard watching her deteriorate. She remembered us, but got confused with the present and past. One moment she was asking about my kids, the next moment she thought she was back in Poland.
Losing her was the hardest thing I had to go through, I’ve never known loss like that before. It shook me to my core. I didn’t feel like getting off the couch. I didn’t feel joy, I felt empty and in pain all at once.
Seeing her for the first time after she died was both a relief and horrible experience. She didn’t look like my babcia anymore. Her hair and makeup made her look like someone else. I said my goodbyes in private. I cried and was devistated that I would no longer have her here with me. I was thankful however she was out of pain in a peaceful place. The thought of her being with her family comforted me.
Friends and family visited to pay their respects. It was cathartic to talk about her and all my found memories I had.
Her funeral was hard, but that is the point. To say goodbye, to cry, to remember and celebrate the wonderful woman she was. The sad music evoked emotion. My husband and children gave me comfort. It was so hard to go through, but I’m glad that I did. To smile and say we should be celebrating, not crying was not realistic for me. I needed to mourn her. I felt pain like I never have before. But feeling it, allowing myself to grieve has allowed me to move forward. I think of her each day. I feel connected to her today as though she was still alive. Today I celebrate her, I celebrate her life. I was able to heal after she died, because I didn’t try to smile through the pain and move on.
I will always have her in my heart. I feel her presence always.
Love you Babcia today and always, until we meet again xoxo.