What A Difference A Year Makes

I am such a different person than I was a year ago. Everything changed August 20th 2016 and I will never be the same. That is the day I found out that my Grandfather, Doug D, passed away.download (4)

In December of 2015 my Grandpa had fallen and broke his hip. So off to the hospital he went and we found out that he was sick with some other stuff too. It was nothing he couldn’t heal from but it was going to take longer than normal. The nurses and doctors slowly cured his other ailments, then went to work on his hip.

9d77d25f11fb8ba00fcaa57726a50865I went to visit in the hospital and he looked like himself but also not. He was pale and he seemed shrunken in a way. Not like little but his usually big personality was deflated. He wasn’t joking and laughing like I remember, he wasn’t flirting as much with the nurses (and he never would have let that opportunity go by), and he was a little off. As his broken bones healed, he was moved to rehab. He was doing everything he was asked and slowly regaining his strength.

As we were getting ready to leave for vacation, he was slowly making his way back home and back to normal. I would get updates from my mother and she would say, “you should try to stop by.” Knowing she was right but feeling so overwhelmed with readying ourselves for our first long bike ride, I didn’t go.FB_IMG_1471962570612[1]

Then we got home and life moved on. I was catching up on work, getting ready for other grandparents visits, and finishing up my summer semester. But I hadn’t gone and visited my grandpa! I had made every excuse to not go visit him, “I have too much to catch up on.” and “I will stop over and see them once things slow down” but I never got that chance.

While I was getting ready for a family picnic with my other grandparents, my grandfather passed away. When my sister called, I collapsed. I couldn’t believe he was gone. It was like the air had left the room, all sounds were like muffled echos, and my body felt as it were made of noodles. He had died peacefully after his lunch in the dining room of their assisted living. He had eaten his meal and told my grandma that he was going to close his eyes and take a “siesta”, one of his favorite pastimes,  while she finished up. He never opened his eyes again. He was not in pain, he did not struggle or suffer, he just closed his eyes. It was a miraculous blessing AND a heartbreaking sadness.IMAG1046

I lost someone that taught me how to drive a car (well sort of), grow a garden, bait a hook and catch a fish, clean a boo boo with hydrogen peroxide until the bubbles went away. A man that had his faults but loved me with everything in his being! A man who had a special sparkle in his eye, a little dance to his step, and a joke always waiting on his lips. I had a hole in my heart but also a TON of regrets.

Why didn’t I take a couple hours to go see him?

Why didn’t I at least call him when we got home?

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That day I changed. I grew sadder, darker, and lonelier. I shut off relationships that were special because I couldn’t find joy. I lost people close to me because I found fault or hurt in their actions. In the words of the Grinch, {my}”heart was one size too small.”

But as the time has gone on, I have found happiness again. While I remember my grandpa and all the love and care he brought in to my life, I smile a little brighter because I know that he is watching over me. I don’t let myself make an excuse not to visit my grandmother. I don’t want to miss a moment. I hold closer to those relationships that fill me up and support my dreams! I push myself harder to be the person my grandpa always knew I could be, but I never had the faith in myself. I sing a little louder, dance a little more, and love a little fuller because he walks with me.

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Wearing my Grandpa’s pocket watch after my graduation this year, he would have been so proud!

Loss can be such a life altering thing. As you read from my story, there were ups and downs and casualties along the way. It is not easy to loose those we care about, but I wouldn’t trade the feelings of grief for not having those people in my life. Would you?

Who have you lost that you want to honor today? In what ways do you let their memory live on through you?

Recipe:

Healthy Oatmeal Muffins (from Bren Did blog)

muffinThese are awesome AND healthy! I have made 3 batches in just 2 weeks. Once you make one batch of regular think of all the ways you can doctor them up! I did blueberries, walnuts, dried cherries, dark chocolate and dried banana (and different combinations of all those things too). Then I let cool completely, wrapped in Press and Seal wrap (which the Hubs says is impossible to open..lol) and put in a large Ziploc bag in the fridge. Perfect grab-and-go snack!

PS. I cooked in a square muffin tin, hence the shape, no liner needed.

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