Smile though your heart is aching, Smile even though it’s breaking. When there are clouds in the sky, you’ll get by. If you smile through your fear and sorrow. Smile and maybe tomorrow, you’ll see the sun come shining through for you. Light up your face with gladness, hide every trace of sadness. Although a tear may be ever so near that’s the time you must keep on trying Smile, what’s the use of crying?… Nat King Cole – Smile Lyrics.
Death is scary at any age, period. Dealing with death as an adult well, it isn’t any easier. For me I have been blessed to watch my grandparents “grow old”. I still have a grandparent on both sides of my family. But, I have recently been met with loss. The loss of my grandmother in 2012 took an emotional toll on me and honestly it still feels like yesterday. It was so intense and I still find myself grieving. It did bring a little peace to my heart that I was able to visit with her as she went in and out of hospitals, I was mentally prepared for what was inevitably going to happen. The passing of my grandfather last week was another big blow. It’s hard to be far away from your family and knowing my grandfathers health was declining was enough for me to drop everything and make plans to go visit him. I packed my car and headed to meet my parents who planned to drive the 300 miles with me. God had other plans, at ninety-one years old my grandfather took his final breath. I was in the car alone on my way to meet my parents when my husband called and our conversation went just like this.
LC: I know this sounds crazy, but will you come back home real quick.
Me: um, sure.
LC: Okay see you in a minute.
I spent the next ten minutes driving back home wondering what he wanted. A kiss goodbye? Were my boys already missing me? I ran inside to see my husband standing in the hallway and like that he said “your grandpa is gone”. I was immediately sick to my stomach, numb that I didn’t get the chance to say goodbye and my grandmother was five hours away with no other family to be with her. I felt immediately guilty that I didn’t leave earlier in the day.
I needed to be there for my mom and we needed to get to my grandma. The car ride to my moms was filled with numbness and confusion. Last we knew he was being admitted into the hospital and they where starting iv’s. Within an hour he was gone. We didn’t speak much for those five hours.
It’s been five days and I am emotionally drained. I am concerned for my grandmothers health and how she will transition to being a widow. She wants to continue to live hundreds of miles away from all of her family. I don’t know what our future holds, but I know that it is not easy to experience loss even as an adult. I find a hint of comfort in knowing my grandfather lived a long life that was filled with amazing adventures.He fought in the battle of the bulge, the battle of Normandy, the battle of Sicily, and put his life on the line at D-Day. I can only imagine what he was part of and the intense days that filled his life in the Army.
Music seems to have a way of making my memory flow. It helps me see life a little more clearly and it’s nice to let out a good cry. My grandfathers two favorite songs where Nat King Cole: Smile and Frankie Valli: Can’t Take My Eyes Off You. We played these songs at his funeral and they are now engraved in my mind as beautiful memories of my grandfather.
I know we will see each other again, but this time apart will be difficult for all of my family and for that I am heartbroken.