Grandma's spare glasses.
I kept them here at my house in case she misplaced her regular pair. I have no reason to keep them now, and certainly they could be donated to a local service club that collects them. But in the meantime they are here in front of me, reminding me that grandma is not here.
It's been a month since she died. Thirty days. It feels like it was just yesterday.
Since helping to care for grandma kept me pretty busy toward the end of her life, when things settled down after her funeral I jumped right into projects I had been planning to do at home. I figured turning my attention to home and getting back into my own routine would help burn some of that antsy energy I was feeling, and nobody would be here to see me cry while I painted walls or scrubbed floors.
But I have to admit, I didn't do all that much grieving that first few weeks. When a social worker from Hospice called to see how I was doing, it threw me off. I was fine, I told her. Getting back to the usual stuff. She asked me if I had any questions. I didn't. She told me she would be sending me some things in the mail. I thanked her.
When that packet of papers came in the mail, I set it aside. I told myself I knew what they said. And for the most part, I did. But after having a really bizarre dream about grandma the other night I figured there must be something in my psyche needing attention, so I pulled the papers out and had a look-see.
This is what a friend told me and what I've learned to be true: the grief comes at the oddest times. This is what Hospice will tell you and what I have also learned to be true: you can't go around or over grief; you can only go through it. There are no rules about how long it "should" take for a person to go through the grieving process, and everyone grieves in their own way.
So, for the record? In a lot of ways I am fine. But some days are not so good. The pain is worst when I hear of others' losses: the devastation in Japan, some dear friends' loss of a family member this past week, even knowing one of my daughter's classmates is moving away over spring break has my stomach in knots. At times when I would typically be a little emotional anyway I'm now a complete wreck.
But that's OK. That's my "normal" for right now, and for the foreseeable future. And I know there will be more tears, more pain, more dreams and voices and whatever else in the months to come. In a few weeks my parents will be home (again) from Florida and we will start the process of clearing out grandma's house so it can be sold. To say it will be difficult would be a serious understatement. I don't have to help, but I offered to because I think it will help me find some closure.
And that will be just the beginning.