Death and Forgiveness

I found out over the weekend that my Grandmother died. For many, a grandparent dying is not a big deal. Often it’s an excuse people use when they are lying about an absence in a college class or important work meeting – or even to gain sympathy in a reality TV show.

The death of my Grandmother signifies the end of many things for me. When my brother called to tell me, I was stoic. I hung up and I sat with it for a while. Then I cried.

I cried for the loss of a life. I cried that it made me think of my own vulnerability. I cried about the anger I’ve had toward her and have been carrying around for nearly 20 years. I cried that I had hung onto it for so long and didn’t forgive her while she was here. I cried for my father who has now lost his second parent and is conflicted with emotions due to a tumultuous relationship with his mother that affected his entire life – including his own children. I cried for many experiences lost and I cried for the good memories I did have – homemade Tapioca pudding, a dog named Tammy, a lakeside home and May Day celebrations (a lost tradition that she taught me about with May poles and May baskets – I remember the neighbors being quite perplexed when I went door-to-door at the age of 7 handing them out).

As I rearrange my work schedule this week and head West for the funeral, I think about what to wear. I laugh for a moment when I realize I’ll be wearing a business suit – because in a way it’s appropriate – the funeral is a business transaction for my soul. The relationship was complicated and many things were left unsaid and undone – memories that can’t be changed, conversations that will never take place.

The finality of death can jolt you. Many times only for a moment. Others for a lifetime. I think about the fact that I didn’t call her on Thursday when my parents told me Hospice had come…

Perhaps she will forgive me, wherever she is, as I forgive her… finally.

2 thoughts on “Death and Forgiveness

  1. Diane Thornton

    Good Morning Chris,

    I don’t have your e-mail address for some reason (perhaps a crashed computer!) so I haven’t been able to keep you in the loop regarding what’s up with Bob and me after the memorial service. Please e-mail me and then I will have it.

    Your mom suggested I read your blog and I can only say that I am very excited for you. Forgiveness lifts such a burden. It doesn’t change the past like you said, things are left unsaid, but I really hope you are feeling a freedom. Thank you so much for making the trip out here. I believe that service wasn’t for Grandma but rather for all of us. To reconnect after all these years was very meaningful to me. I hope we can keep the connection going. I love you, Chris.



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