Last week, I studied the differences of death and funerals between two particular cultures. One, you embrace reason and logic, you keep your emotions to yourself. The second one, you embrace chaos. You let absolutely every single last drop of emotion out. You wail, you scream, you cry. I want to scream, I want to wail. I have so much inside of me, so much emotion to express.
I don’t think I realized how long I’ve been missing her for. My last year has been filled with memories of hospitals and homes, of medications and dementia, of fading away, of so much love and so much sadness. I thought that I had been preparing myself for this inevitable moment, the moment that we will all one day face ourselves. I thought that having seen the pain and suffering that she was experiencing go on for so long, that I, personally, could find peace in this moment. I thought that I had let the tears flow, I thought that I had felt the heartbreak. I thought I was prepared for this moment.
My entire life, even the last of her time, has been filled with so many joyful moments spent together. Like, watching Jurassic park and eating popcorn and drinking the creamiest, sweetest hot chocolate I ever have had. Like, having her make me eggs sprinkled with pepper, which I was “allergic” to. Like going to a strawberry field and picking berries, and then coming home and eating them all. Like eating the raspberries off of her bush that poked through the fence. Like running over every Christmas morning to show off my new toys. Like drinking sprite and eating icecream…even when I insisted I was full. Like dressing up the big teddy bear that she for made me by hand … and getting in trouble for it by my mom because it was too important to play with. But of course I loved it too much and I didn’t listen, so I had to ask Jean to fix it and put the head back on because I did play with it too much. Like watching her shower her plants with love. Like, making hot tubs for my barbies out of lego and proudly showing off my creations. Like huddling up and watching old black and white movies. Like insisting that the only thing that will calm my fears during a thunderstorm is Jean. Like playing board games and card games and anything else I could convince her to play with me. Like spending my sick days home from school on her couch, afraid to fall asleep because I wanted to prove to her that I was a big girl that wasn’t sick. Like having her try to pull out my wiggly teeth. Like sitting in her garden. Like seeing her smile, hearing her laugh, and feeling her warm embrace.
Nothing was wrong when Jean Bonk was around. It was impossible
I don’t think that I’ve ever felt this kind of loss before, I’ve never been so close to anyone that has passed away, I’ve never loved and adored anyone this much that has left. I know that she was suffering, I know that she was not doing well. I know that she hasn’t smiled that smile, or laughed that laugh in way too long. I know that she is in a ‘better place’ now. I know. I do. I just can’t imagine a world without Jean.
I’ve been so fortunate to have her as my grandma. Not everyone has someone like her just one door over. I cherished every moment that I’ve had with her, right up until the end. It breaks my heart that I won’t be able to share my next graduation with her, or show her the pictures from my next trip, or have her at my wedding, or introduce her to her ‘grandchildren-next-door’. But there is no doubt, that I will carry her in my heart for the rest of my life. She was an angel when she was here on earth, but I know that she is now an angel looking over me.
This is one of the times that all I need to feel okay is a hug from her. But, lucky for me, she was married to my grandpa-next-door. And well, he’s pretty great too, and only a door away.