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Lessons in Death

Posted August 6th, 2013

This past week, my grandmother (on my dad’s side) passed away. She hadn’t been well for a while, but I still felt blindsided when I heard the news. I suppose that’s how it always is with death. You think you’re ready; prepared for the worst - but never really are.

We unfortunately weren’t incredibly close, though all of my childhood memories with her are sweet. The trips to get ice cream in my pajamas, the way she called me “pumpkin”, and how she’d sing me the entire happy birthday song each year on May 3rd, even when I was an angsty teenager.

I come from a family of what I’d deem experts in the art of passive aggression, myself included. Whether in a parking lot, “oh sure you can have the space I’ve been waiting for” or in pretty much any situation, it’s hard to avoid and, from what I’ve been told, easy to detect. It's a family trait that we acknowledge and always mean to work on, but change doesn't come easily.

But on the day that I found out she had passed, I did something entirely out of character: I told one of my best friends that she had hurt my feelings. It made my throat tighten and yet, the words just rolled off of my tongue. For someone with an inherently guilty conscience (who coincidentally happens to be a complete goodie-two-shoes), I had already convinced myself that I had spoken out of turn; was too abrasive. And yet, the opposite happened. She was so receptive to my feedback that she not only apologized, but also thanked me for being so open. It seems trivial, yet I know my grandma, who was similarly non-confrontational, would have been proud.

I don’t look forward to months to come, as there’s nothing that stings quite like the ache of missing someone who’s gone. Christmastime, when I’m hanging my hand-knit stocking she made for me the year I was born, and all of those little moments in between. I’m going to miss her. 

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