Loss Of a Loved One (My Family)
Let me tell you a story about my family. About how the recent loss of a loved one made me feel like my eyes had been closed to how amazing the people in my family really are.
Sure, like everyone else, I love my family very, VERY much.
You might say, my family has some minor differences, thats made a very large impact on me and my entire family.
I have three rocks; the ones who hold everything together. The ones I would trust more than anyone in the world. The ones who would break their back behind the scenes, to give us something we would take for granted. The ones we never knew what they were ACTUALLY doing to give us the life we have.
#1 — Dad
You see, my dad is like most dads. Wakes up at 3AM, goes to work, comes home, manages a family with six kids, occasionally works a second job, gets home at 9 or 10, goes to sleep and does it all over again. Doesn't complain, doesn't bitch and moan, he knows why hes doing it. He has a vision; a vision to provide the best life for his family. By far, the hardest working man I know.
“Rules, what are those?” (My mentality growing up) I was young, thought I could take on the world. I was naive and stupid, I didn't notice everything he had done for me up to that point! Of course, I thought he was just a “hardass” who liked to control my life. “Cant do this, cant do that…bla bla bla”, “I need to get outta here!”
I left. I did fine. I lived, learned and grew.
Now, I’m 26. Im at an age where you can look back and actually see what the hell he was talking about. He did what he did because he loved us. He wanted us to grow up being polite, respectful people who loved life. Rules are set in place for a reason, and now I can see it. I wasn't ready to be exposed to the gravity life has to offer at such a young age. Sometimes, being a parent is about putting your child in the best place at the right time for them to succeed.
I don’t have to say anymore. He knows what he means to me.
#2 — Grandpa — (2008)
My grandpa. The artist. The story teller. The most peaceful man I've known — who walked with so much faith you could sense it from the other room.
I was 18 years old. Working, going to school, being an 18 year old. Of the few regrets I live with, 2008 is when one of them came at me full force.
My grandpa got sick. Cancer. He was 6o years old.
I didn't know what else to do but spend as much time as I could with him in the hospital. I called out of work for two straight weeks, so I could just sit with him.
This regret I spoke about earlier is that I didn't do this before. I didn't sit with him and ask him to tell me stories about his life. I didn't ask him for guidance when I was in trouble. I took the little time I had with him for granted.
The time I spent with him meant more to me than I think anyone could understand. I had a chance to really understand the man he really was. I soaked up as much of him as I possible could.
It was the first time in my life I felt something slipping away from me, I couldn't control. No matter how long I spent with him, he wasn't going to be ok. I was losing him. In those last moments I could watch him grow weaker and weaker.
What makes my grandpa so amazing is, in this last moments he didn't lose an ounce, of who he was. He gentleness remained, his peacefulness persisted and his faith flourished. My grandpa was an amazing man who influenced not only me, but everyone who felt his touch or heard his voice.
#3 — Nana — (2016)
The date today; March 15th 2016. A week hasn't passed since “Nana” (Great Grandma) passed away. Cancer.
This 85 year old woman, let me tell you, the strongest woman you could ever want to meet. She was short, she was round, she didnt have a grey hair on her head. She worked until she got sick in late 2015.
This is one of those stories where you don’t know the effects someone has on an entire family until they’re gone.
It was around Thanksgiving 2015, when I found out “Nana” got sick. I think in my mind I knew she was going to get better because I had never seen her sick, even at 85 years old. She had one gear, “go mode.”
Well, she never did recover. I spent my last day with her a couple weeks ago in the hospice center with my entire family crammed into a tiny little room. She was on morphine, which I believe enhanced this feeling she had of being in the spotlight. In 26 years I had never heard her put on a show like she did in that room. She was comedic. She was genuine. She was strong.
She had the entire room laughing until our stomachs hurt. Talking about food, tv shows and our family.
She looked directly at my mother and told her how beautiful she was.
We all said goodbye.
Four days ago, we attended her funeral.
Ive been fortunate. I haven’t had to go to many, so my mind wasn’t really sure what to expect. My girl-friend wanted to come to give me support, which I declined because I knew I was going to support my family. What I didn't expect was sitting alone, as the Catholic priest said his prayer, reminiscing on the little things she would do to sum up a proper family gathering. Or the impact this woman had on my mom, aunts and grandma. I found myself thinking about being in my grandmas shoes. Saying goodbye to my mom for the last time.
In this moment, my mom found her way to the empty seat next to me. With her head resting against my shoulder, her tears running down her face, her arm inter-linked with mine, she was about to give her final farewell to her grandmother. How?
All I could think of is the effect Nana had on this family.
These three people I just spoke about; my Dad, Grandpa and Great Grandma aren't in my family by force. It was their choice. My Dad is my Step-Dad, my Grandpa married my Grandma and Nana adopted my Grandma.
Want to know mine? Im literally the luckiest person I know. What more can you ask for?
These people didn’t have an obligation because they were born into it. Blood didnt bind them. It was a choice. They chose to take over this family and lead us to where we are today. Without all of them I don’t know where I would be.
These are my rocks.