I lost my Granny in July of 2010, and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of her. It’s especially hard, though, as the holidays are fast approaching. As they are for many people, the holidays in my life have always been about spending time with family, and food, of course. We have a huge family on my Mom’s side, and when I was young, Granny’s house was packed with family and food, although that would be nothing compared to what it would be if we were to all get together today.
As the holidays are fast approaching, I am feeling more and more nostalgic for the way things used to be; wanting to be a kid again, wanting things to be the way that they used to be. I take over Granny’s kitchen on the holidays now, and try continuously to master her famous Red Velvet Cake Recipe. The holidays are bittersweet because it’s incredibly hard for her to not be there with me, but the time that I spend in her kitchen is my favorite part of the year; I feel closest to her then. Not to brag, but I also get to have the best taste-tester sleeping in his chair in the next room until he needs to report for duty; I think Papa likes having the continuation of Granny’s traditional big holiday celebrations in his house, as well as her recipes being (somewhat) replicated in her kitchen.
I was getting down on myself around this time last year; I thought that I should be used to the holidays without her by now. I’m a master at repressing feelings, and I searched online to see if there were any additional ways to help me to actually deal with the emotions I was feeling. All I saw were “12 Steps” … “5 Steps” … ways to deal with a “grief problem” here and now. I found one website, though, that caught my eye, and it opened with the definition of grief: “DEEP SORROW.” I was shocked. It was nothing about the grieving process or how to get over my grief now. The author spoke of dealing with grief as being a part of LIFE. Once a person was there, and now they aren’t; their physical absence creates a deep sorrow that becomes a part of life. I then realized that it’s natural to be sad when I think about how she and Papa won’t be dancing at my wedding, or she won’t get to hold my children; it’s okay, and even good, to cry about those things. However, it’s also just as important to remember all of the great memories that I have with her.
Grieving isn’t just a 5 step or year long process, it’s a part of my life now. I will feel “deep sorrow” when she isn’t there on Thanksgiving and Christmas; but it will also be great when I’m in her kitchen cooking. I know that I have my guardian angel watching over me when I’m cooking to make sure I’m not burning myself (or the house) and that makes me excited to experience the holidays.
I’m not a doctor or psychologist or anyone who knows what they’re talking about. This is the first time that I have ever shared this with anyone. Multi-step processes may work well for other people. These words are just an expression of how I’ve dealt with my own grief in an effort that they may help just one other person.