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Friday, April 3, 2015

On Loss, Love, and the Oldest Generation

Springtime always makes me think of Lilo. Last week I visited her grave for the first time since the funeral. I took her the first daffodills of Spring from our yard. 

I specifically think of her a lot at Easter-time. First, because she always spoiled the crap out of the girls with special Easter baskets and HUGE Easter bunnies. She would hide them somewhere in the yard and come knock on our door to tell the girls she talked to the Easter Bunny and he brought them something special!

I also think of her a lot because her birthday is in April.

She would have been 89 years old this year.

When she passed away last year I went through a surprisingly tough grieving process. I naively thought that you only experience such painful feelings of loss when a close member of your family dies. I was certainly wrong there.

I wasn't prepared for the flood of emotions that came with her death. And it took quite a few months to let those come and go.

I journaled and cried and talked to people and wrote Lilo "letters" and cried some more.

I had a hard time going down into the apartment for awhile, which ended up being necessary a few times to help Diana out with things. I remember the first time I was able to be in the apartment without feeling a lump in my throat. I put my hand on the couch and I looked at the living room and just let the memories and feelings come. It took a long time for me to be able to put the image of her on the floor after her stroke out of my mind. But I was reminded that I have too many happy memories with her to cling so hard to such a sad one.

I talked to the girls about how much I missed her. We bought a book that helped explain death in a way they could understand.

{Here's my affiliate link to When Dinosaurs Die ... I highly recommend it}

Not long after Lilo passed, Jesse and I had some serious talks about how our girls hadn't seen most of the oldest generation of our family since Lily was a baby. Sam hadn't even met any of her great-grandparents.

We decided pretty quickly that we were going to make it a priority this year for the girls to spend some time with GreatGram & GreatPa, Grandma Linza, and Grandma Bentley. And thus began the plans for our big Stateside Vacay of 2015...

I hate that it was the death of our Oma that prompted such a feeling of urgency to reconnect with our own family. But isn't that the way things are in life? You don't think about things like death until they happen. Or at least, that's my experience.

So that's a big reason we took such a long and thorough trip to the States this year. We drove a lot to make sure we could see everyone. We battled snowstorms and sleep-deprivation and sickness to make it a priority to get the girls acquainted with all their great-grandparents.

The smiles, hugs, and precious memories were so worth it. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the commentary and the reminder that in our military lifestyle it is important to make the effort to connect with family. I am absolutely sure you will be thankful for those visits not only for your children but for yourself.