I’ve been fortunate enough in my life, I suppose, to have only lost a select few loved ones. The unfortunate flip side to that though, is that they were really really hard, unexpected ones to lose.
The first was my Granny, which happened out of nowhere when I was in 8th grade. My grandfather followed, although expected, a few years later. Most recently, this past fall, we lost my Uncle Mike out of left field–which was something I couldn’t really figure out how to share until now.
Grief is a weird thing. It’s so intense and eventually subsides, but then, years later, it can come back as hard as it was in the beginning at any moment. Sometimes you aren’t sure when it’s going to hit–like when you’re unpacking an old box and you get a whiff of something you think might have smelled like them. On the other hand, sometimes you know things that trigger it and try to avoid them.
My biggest fear when losing someone is that one day I’m going to forget how they made me feel when I was with them, the little quirks they had, or the things they loved so much. That I was going to lose my connection with them, now that they were gone.
So in order to make sure that doesn’t happen, I focus on the little things.
Because the little things are really what made them so special–right? It might sound strange, but they really bring me comfort.
It could be something as small as picking up their favorite candy at the grocery store, listening to their favorite song, or whipping up a recipe they used to love.
Sometimes, it’s the smallest things that help to fill the biggest voids.
My Granny always used to drink her coffee black. This is because during the war, sugar was rationed. She only could have a set amount of sugar per week–so she had to choose, did she want to make a pie, or drink sugar in her coffee? Having the sweetest tooth I’ve ever seen a woman have, she of course, didn’t want to give up her pie!
A couple weeks ago, we ran out of sugar, and I was also forced to drink my espresso black, or not drink any at all. This made me think of my Granny, and for that reason, my coffee, despite being strong and bitter, was so much more enjoyable that morning.
While I’ve since purchased more sugar, I have yet to start adding it back into my coffee. It’s that little reminder of Granny each morning that makes me feel so much more connected to her, despite the fact that she’s been gone for 11 years.
My Uncle Mike loved cats. (He was definitely a character. You know that uncle who could maybe be described as the “black sheep” and was at times more like your brother than an uncle? Yeah, that was him.) He loved all animals, but cats were really up there. I’m an animal lover as well, but I would never classify myself as a “cat person.” I wouldn’t typically go too far out of my way to pet a cat.
But this past weekend, I was over at an acquaintances house, and there was a black cat there. He was kind of creepy and weird, but seemed to really like me (which doesn’t really ever happen with cats) following me around, meowing at me. This is an opportunity I probably would’ve taken to text my uncle a photo of this strange cat.
So instead of ignoring him, I thought what a kick Uncle Mike would’ve gotten out of this annoying cat, and picked him up. I carried him about the house petting him for the next 10 minutes or so, and weirdly, it brought me comfort. The connection between my uncle and this silly cat was mostly likely in my head, but maybe it wasn’t. Either way, it made me really happy, and re-connected to him in some way.
What brings you comfort when remembering a lost loved one?