The passing of my grandma

My grandma died last month. It was a stroke. She spent a few days at the hospital in pretty much vegetative state before finally passing. It’s weird sitting by someone’s deathbed, but everything went as well as anyone could’ve hoped. And it really was one of the best possible ways to go.

Grandma was always such a strong woman. Tall and physically fit and very hard-working. As a child, I used to spend most holidays with grandma and grandpa. I think I’ve mentioned before that they were one of the reasons why I turned into such a nature lover. They were very outdoorsy people, and they more or less lived off the land. Grandpa died almost 20 years ago so she was alone for a long time, but she managed. She was over 90 years old and still lived on her own and kept a fairly active life all the way ’til the end. I’m glad someone like her didn’t have to waste away slowly. Just a flash of lightning and then gone.

For several reasons I didn’t have much direct contact with her during the last few years, but at least I got to say goodbye. The first time we went to see her she opened her eyes and squeezed my hand a bit. I don’t know if she recognized me or was even conscious, but I choose to believe so.

It was a nice and small funeral. I loved that the little chapel in grandma’s town had an oil painting of a forest as its altarpiece. Seemed very fitting.

Me and my grandma by the water
Me and grandma a few hundred years ago

One of the weirdest things about having a close relative die must be going through their stuff afterwards. Just… rummaging through drawers and cupboards and going through every little thing. And then deciding what is worth saving and what is not. Items that she probably valued very much are given away/sold/thrown in the trash. It’s necessary, but it also feels disrespectful.

I have her wedding ring now. And some other things I got from her apartment. It’s a strange feeling, that her belongings are suddenly mine. It’s the circle of life I guess, but still.

One of the funniest things we found was a huge old sickle in the nightstand! What was that for? In case of intruders? I admit I like the thought of grandma fending off a burglar with a weapon like that. 😅

My other biological grandparents passed when I was much younger, and my step-grandpa and step-grandma passed a few years ago. Now I’m all out of grandparents. Like there’s a whole generation missing now. I still haven’t figured out how to deal with loss and grief. Like, I don’t know how to feel or what I’m even supposed to do with the feelings when they come. My dad and stepmum have lost so many people in recent years I think they’ve become used to it though. They treat it as the most natural thing in the world and talk about it frequently. I’m not that chill with death yet, but I hope I too get to have that relaxed attitude some day.

For some reason, life seems easier for people who know how to handle death. But for now, I just hope it will be a long time until the next funeral.

Comments

  1. March 18, 2019

    I am sorry for your loss, Karin. I am glad that you had a wonderful life with her.

    • April 3, 2019

      Thank you ❤

  2. March 20, 2019

    I’m so sorry for your loss Karin.

    • April 4, 2019

      Thank you 💕

  3. March 20, 2019

    I’m so sorry for your loss Karin. I lost my grandma on my dad’s side last year while I was out of the country and it was hard. A few months before that I’d lost a close family friend that was like a grandpa to me. Loss is weird — you know they’re gone, but somehow it doesn’t feel quite real. Going through their belongings is definitely a surreal experience. Sometimes I wonder what of mine that I value people would deem worthless… I hope you can enjoy the memories you had with her.

    • April 4, 2019

      Thank you, and I’m sorry about your losses as well. It definitely is surreal to have a person suddenly be just… gone? But I guess the best and only thing to do is accept it and cherish the good times you’ve had with the person.

  4. March 29, 2019

    I’m so sorry for your loss Karin. I understand how you feel about a whole generation gone. I have lost all my grandparents and a great-grandmother and great-grandfather that I had the pleasure to know. I remember going through my Nan’s (my mom’s mom who I was super close to) things after her passing with my mom and aunts. I remember the bittersweetness of it. Laughing at sweet memories of her and my grandfather and crying over certain things. It’s a hard thing to do but I am glad I was included. I have her engagement and wedding ring as well. My mom gave it to my husband when she found out he was going to ask me to marry him. I wear her wedding ring often (I find it hard to wear rings due to pain and itchiness when the gold touches me so I, unfortunately, can’t wear it all the time). It’s so hard we will always miss them so much, but it does fade with time and I now find I am so thankful just that I got to know her and that she didn’t pass before I was born.

    • April 4, 2019

      Thank you, and I’m sorry for your losses as well. It’s never easy. I know what you mean about it being bittersweet to clean out a relative’s things. You find so many old photos and mementoes that bring long-lost memories back to life. It makes me very sentimental, but I too am glad I was included. I think it helps with the grief too, to get so hands-on sorting through not just things but memories as well. I find it brings a form of closure.
      And that is so sweet about your mom giving your Nan’s rings to your husband! It’s unfortunate that you can’t wear it much, but it’s still romantic. :)

  5. March 31, 2019

    You know, this made me just realize something, all my grandparents are gone as well. We lost my grandmother last year.

    Anyway, I’m so sorry for your loss! *hugs*

    Death can be hard. It honestly in a way doesn’t affect me a lot.

    I feel you with what has to be thrown out. Though everyone has preferences over stuff. I always like to keep the sentimental things.

    Please take care!

    • April 4, 2019

      Thank you *hugs*
      It’s probably good that death doesn’t affect you all that much, it must mean you know to accept it for what it is. :)