Saturday, February 20, 2010

Life Goes On...

Big G with the fam

...after tragedy strikes. As you may know, my grandmother, Big G, died February 6th after battling uterine cancer and a brain tumor. She was my last grandparent. Back in 1998, my grandfather (her husband) died of a brain tumor. Then in 1999, only 10 months later, my mom's mom died of ovarian cancer. I was only 12 at the time and while I understood the sadness and importance of what happened, I feel that my memory wasn't quite as cognoscente as it is now. I was sad, but it didn't really affect me as much as Big G's passing has. I suppose it's helped having 11 years to cultivate a deeper relationship with Big G. Especially as I'm now an adult, interpretations of life are different.

Carol Jeanne Loveridge (Big G) was born September 6th, 1930. She was the youngest child be many years. She was also an "accident" child. Her mother was a good woman, but as far as I understand, Big G was never really wanted. I suppose the fact that she was born during the Depression, made finances tight all around with an extra mouth to feed. She had a lot of hardships in her childhood due to that fact. She lived her entire life in Springville, Utah, and married her high school sweetheart, Clyde LaMar Clark, when they were both just 19 years old. I had the opportunity to come across some old yearbooks from when the two of them were in high school. The "autographs" they wrote to each other were absolutely precious. Those two were the very definition of "soul mates". Together they had 7 children, 18 grand-children and (so far) 16 great-grand children. While her early years were somewhat love-less, she made sure that no one else felt unloved when they were with her. She made everyone feel like she was their best friend. In fact, after her funeral, my mom was at the local floral shop. She was chatting with the florist, when the subject of Big G came up. The florist said that all the customers who came in to buy flowers for Big G had said things like "She was my best friend" or "I could always tell her anything and she never judged me". I really admire the legacy she left behind. I hope that by the time I'm about to kick the bucket, I have the same thing. Even a fraction of what Big G had, and I'll be happy.

When I first heard she was seriously sick, I was so sad. I didn't cry until I got on the phone with her, and she started singing one of her silly songs. She always had this thing to sing some old song which was relevant to the situation. For example, when waking you up in the morning, she'd sing a song about Mary Sunshine who woke up too soon and scared away the moon and stars. After expressing my sadness over her illness, she got firm and told me "no tears" and that she wasn't afraid or sad to be dying, and that was a huge comfort to me. From my religious standpoint, I knew that she would be ok and that she would be reunited with her husband, something I knew she wanted badly. And the fact that she wasn't afraid, helped me make peace. After all, something I realized is that I wasn't saying "goodbye" to her. I was saying "see you later". I was lucky to be able to fly out to see her a week before she died and then again for the funeral. While I know she's gone, there's a part of me that hasn't fully absorbed that she just isn't alive anymore. When I saw her for the first time in her casket, I almost expected her to just wake up. She looked like she was sleeping. It was difficult watching them close the casket. I didn't want her to be alone in there even though I knew her spirit was long gone. It's funny how hard it is to say goodbye to the body of a deceased person. We know they're gone, but since the body is the last thing we have really to hold on to, it becomes the symbol of them.
I feel like I've been dealing ok with her death. I think right now, I'm in a state of irritability. I'm not sure why. I don't resent God for taking her. I'm not angry, I guess I'm just more intensely sad than normal. Life without her is going to take a lot of adjustments. But like I said, life goes on after tragedy. You can't fight the forces and unavoidable occurrences that happen. You must adapt and be flexible to be truly happy....