Friday, October 12, 2007

Surfacing

My grandparents retired and passed away in the rural Virginian community where they were born and raised.

I have been here since Saturday night cradled in the care of these country neighbors who are my kin.

My Grandmother was buried on Wednesday.

I will be here with my mother and her siblings through the weekend closing up this house and a cherished life.

Because none of the immediate family lives close by, we’ve had to do so many tasks that most people are able to shelve until some later, less grievous time.

The closets and dressers are cleaned out.

I keep coming across saved bits of paper – a scribbled verse, an old letter, lists of memories meant for lovers eyes on the occasion of an anniversary – I don’t know what to do with them.

Perhaps I should build a fire and send them to her.

In a kitchen drawer I found a print out of the comments people left on this blog when my grandfather died. They must have given my granny some comfort.

I can’t thank you enough for the many thoughtful and kind words you have left for me this week.

It has been a very hard time.

105 comments:

Amy Linder said...

Take care. Cherish the time you spend with your family and the memories you have of your grandparents. I'm thinking of you and wishing you all peace.

Cakabaker said...

When our son died, we kept all of his things as we didn't know what we wanted to do with them. Then we slowly started giving things away to cousins and close friends, as they helped bring closer to some. Items are replaceable/give-awayable, it's the memories in your heart that are the most heart-mending. Just recall all the memories you have of your grandparents, and be blessed that you are fortunate enought to have them, so people don't.
Hugs and prayers!

Kyla said...

Jess, I'm thinking of you all. Hugs, friend.

Jenny said...

I'm thinking of you. It's so hard to say goodby.

angela said...

we've been thinking about you...

xo

Theresa said...

I'm so sorry you are going through all of this.

I'm thinking of you and praying for you and your family.

Craze said...

Cherish the time you have there with family. My thoughts are with you all.

*~*Cece*~* said...

Jessica, again, I'm sorry for you loss. {{hugs}}

Guilty Secret said...

It must be so hard not to be able to take a step back before you have to do those things. Still thinking of you...

Jo Beaufoix said...

How wonderful that your blog was a comfort to her when she lost your grandad.
And I'm so sorry that you are having to do all these things now.
Take care.

Catizhere said...

You are still in my thoughts and prayers, Jess.

Take care of you.

Anonymous said...

They will be together again...it must have been so hard for her without him...now it's all pain but
when you think back on this time with your Mom and others you will just remember the love.

mauniejames

Leah said...

You and your family continue to be in my thoughts and prayers.

Karly said...

Oh, I started crying when I read that she saved the comments from when your grandpa died. I hope they did give her some comfort.

And I hope that you and your family are doing well. Take care, Jess.

slouching mom said...

Oh, Jess. I'm just so terribly sorry. Hang in, friend.

xxoo

Mel said...

I hope you know that you are well-loved in this blogging community, and that we are all concerned and so, so sorry. Here's another pseudo-hug:
(((You)))
I can't do comforting very well; it's one of my shortcomings. But know that I sincerely hope that time will ease your sorrow, my friend.

Aliki2006 said...

I've been checking to hear from you every day. My heart has been so heavy over your loss. Continue to heal...I'll continue to think of all of you.

ewe are here said...

Thinking of you . . . hugs.

Meegan said...

I actually started to cry when you mentioned finding the print-out of comments. Wow. Thank you for sharing.

Peace and comfort,
Meegan

Karen Forest said...

This week I have begun putting together a heritage scrapbook album for my father's Christmas gift.

Each time this week that I have uncovered a "new" old picture of my grandparents, great-grandparents and so on, I have thought about the images you posted on your blog and my thoughts and heart have been with you.

Queen of Shake-Shake said...

Many hugs to you and your family. Been thinking of you!

Katrina said...

I would keep the notes and put them in a pretty little book, but I am a huge mushball. I have thought of you often these past days, hoping you are holding up ok. I wish I could help some way...

acumamakiki said...

i can't imagine. take good care jess, sending you love. xo

Worker Mommy said...

I love that your Grandma kept the comments. That is so special.

You take care of yourself and your family!

Kevin Charnas said...

Jessica, just know that Will and I are thinking of you, your Gran and the whole of your family...we are sending you all the love and peace that we have...

With love, lots and lots of love,

Us.

Annie said...

So sad. Coming across stuff, especially in a loved one's handwriting is hard.

Stepping Over the Junk said...

lots and lots and lots of love to you. The way you express your grieving is beautiful and open and full of life, which keeps your family alive.

Mrs. Flinger said...

Much love to your family.

Mrs. Chicky said...

I've been thinking about you, hon. I hope you're finding some peace.

Veronica said...

(((hugs)))

I'm thinking of you.

CableGirl said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. Tying up loose ends is an incredibly difficult and absorbing task. Take care of yourself.

zdoodlebub said...

Kept you in my thoughts and prayers all week. Bask in the intense, bright colors of emotion now - there is beauty in the sadness. The respite shades of gray in every day life will be back soon enough.

jakelliesmom said...

I simply cannot imagine what this has been for you and your family, but I find great joy that your grandmother was comforted by all the kindness that came after your grandfather's passing.

I have a note from my grandmother - a thank you note for a gift given more than 30 years ago, and whenever I come across it, I am reminded of what a lovely lady she was. I wear a pair of her earrings, too, and am always proud to say they were hers.

It has been a lot for you, friend, and I hope you are getting through it.

Natsthename said...

You should save a few bits of the paper scrap into a scrapbook page, if you do that sort of thing. You could put them into an envelope on the page . If you don't do that sort of thing, then "sending them back to her" seems like a wonderful idea.

Peace to you.

Tabba said...

i got goosebumps when i read that you found a print out of the comments from when your Addy passed away.

i have been thinking of you and so glad to be one of the hands that lift you up - when you do so for so many of us everyday out here.

Take care and wishing peace for you & your entire family.

(maybe scan those love notes before you send them to her....)

Theresa Bakker said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. Take all the time you need. That's so good you can be with your mom. I'm delurking because the tears in my eyes just won't be blinked away.

~JJ! said...

Oh Jess. I'm always here for you.

I hope you are finding a way to get some peace in all of this.

hugs.

Kara said...

Thinking of you. ((hugs))

painted maypole said...

oh! that your grandmother kept a print out of the comments from your blog! I love it. And all the scraps of paper. Written words can be so powerful, can't they.

Wishing you much peace...

flutter said...

You and yours are in my heart.

Omaha Mama said...

Oh Joy. I hope that you do build that fire. Send it to Granny and chant a little for her. I hope that you find peace that she is resting with your Addy. And that they are where we all want to be. Just sucks to be stuck here without them.

Rest this weekend if you can. Take care of you too.

Ally said...

I hope you can keep some of those scraps of paper so you can show them to your children some day. Letters meant for lovers' eyes? Those are priceless finds.

I'm thinking of you, and sending my love your way.

crazymumma said...

An heirloom scrapbook.

It will be cherished, perhaps added to.

Or a fire. Each is the same. In its own way.

jen said...

oh honey.
i am thinking of you every single day.

Cathy said...

Going through all those things -- both difficult and yet strangely comforting... how wonderful that she kept those comments.

Wallow in the memories and accept the help of those nearby.

Wishing you peace.

Bitsy Parker said...

Take the time to experience it.

heather said...

So glad to hear that you are among loved ones during a sad time. My thoughts are with you and yours.

Lotus Siva Carroll said...

These 2 posts make me cry for you.

I end my day today with a prayer for you and your family before I go to sleep.

Don't know you, but I feel your pain in the beautiful words you write. So I don't have to know you to feel humanity and compassion, and to want you to know that others out there care.

Be at peace.

coffee queen said...

You are in our thoughts, as well. Please take care.

KC said...

My thoughts are with you and your family. xo

Veronica Mitchell said...

My condolences to you and your family.

Queen of the Mayhem said...

I am glad to hear you are there with your family....it always helps to "circle the wagons" during this difficult time!


My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family!

Momo Fali said...

My Grandmother passed nine years ago this month, and I still miss her every day. I wish you much peace and many happy memories to get you through this difficult time.

Patience said...

"build a fire and send them back to her" An awesome idea, and could be as ceremonial or as casual as you would want. And I think children would love that type of thing.

Pinks & Blues Girls said...

Loving so deeply makes losing our loved ones all the more unfathomable. Allow your heart to be broken.

Jane, Pinks & Blues

SUEB0B said...

Love breaks our heart every time, but it is better to love than to not love.

Hugs.

Misty said...

when my grandmother passed last year, we too experienced the accelerated grieving process... I am such a sentimental fool and can't fathom life without those hidden little scaps of paper and fragments of her life. In fact I have many of them, and other than sentiment there is obviously no reason. Though I would significantly lack the courage to "send them to her", the very idea of doing so seemes so simplistically beautiful.

I have kept you and your family in my prayers... and will continue to do so. May you yourself find much comfort...

TZT said...

I am sorry for your loss. All three of the grandparents I grew up with have passed in the last decade, and I miss them. I miss who I was in their company.

As painful and exhausting as surveying a life in a matter of days can be (I know), I hope it has yielded more than a few moments of joy and insight. With you, it's hard to imagine it any other way. That's the gift of seeing that you possess, which you share here so generously and so often.

Take care,
Tracy

CamiKaos said...

take care of yourself...

xoxo

Fairly Odd Mother said...

The idea that she held on to the comments on your blog after your grandafather died strikes me so powerfully. I'm so sorry for you all.

Missladybug said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. You will never lose the good memories and the love you have for your grandparents, and the love they still have for you. I just went through this myself and I can tell you that I think about my grandfather every day and now can smile feeling as lucky as I do to have had such a wonderful close bond to my grandfather, a fabulous gentleman. I hope you can feel the closeness of your family to get through this hard time.

Bon said...

been thinking of you up here too. i was touched by the fact that your grandmother kept the printout of comments from your grandfather's death...so little, all these words thrown into the ether, and yet ties. we all need to know that people care.

and your grandmother, clearly, was deeply cared for, deeply loved.

i'm sorry that you are having to do all these things now.

Arwen said...

When my mother died hundreds of people from around the world emailed us. It was wonderful to read the kinds things people said about my mom.
I am sure it was a comfort for your grandmother.

mothergoosemouse said...

I think it's so neat that she saved the comments left when your grandfather died. There's a lot of kindness in the world - it's comforting.

PixelPi said...

It is so difficult to say anything other than "I'm sorry" and "You're in my prayers." It's a sad, sad time for all of you. Thank God you are together.

Pendullum said...

So very very sad to have heard of the loss....
I am grteful that your family will be there all gathered together to help in the process of cleaning out the home...
Take great comfort in each other....
And I am thinking of you....

b+3 said...

Jess, I am calling my grandmother right this minute. Thank You for opening yourself to the blogosphere. I know nothing about my grandmother or her life. Thanks to you I will start to learn today. Peace to you and your family.

Sue said...

I'm sorry for your loss.

Really.

*Hug*

Jordan said...

Jessica, I'm so sorry and wish you and your family peace during this time.

carrie said...

It's so hard, all those tasks that must be done. So, I'm sending you a barrel full of strength and support to get you through it.

And every now and then, I hope you can find time to breathe.

Much love.

Deb said...

I'm so sorry for your loss.

Mimi said...

I can't even imagine what it must be like to undertake such a task at such a time. Heartbreaking, certainly. I'm thinking of you this weekend, and wishing you strength.

Pgoodness said...

Thinking of you and hoping being together with your family brings you all a little bit of peace.

Candace said...

sending thoughts and prayers.
you are such a beautiful writer. to be able to put such things into words is such a gift to us and to them.

Blog Antagonist said...

It takes time to wrap up a life. My thoughts are with you. Take care.

Damselfly said...

It *is* hard going through those personal things, and so soon. Sounds like your grandmother was a writer -- maybe you could keep those scraps with you for a later time. Thinking of you.

Becki said...

My God give you comfort. My Grandma died 9 years ago this month and I still ache with missing her. She was one of my best friends and my hero.

Anonymous said...

I'm thinking of you, Jess. Those two are together again, dont you know, holding one another close and dearly. Take a small bit of comfort in that. Take care of yourself, sister.

Neen

Maddy said...

The amount of 'stuff' to be done is overwhelming at any time. Wishing you energy and strength.
Best wishes

Paige said...

You're in my thoughts. Sending a hug your way.

Call me when you're ready. I promise to pick up...

:-)

P

Kristin said...

(((thinking of you)))

Circus Kelli said...

I've been down that road as well, love. Two years ago, when my Grandmother passed away in Florida. I had a week to deal with various strange family emotions, and the cleaning up and taking care of her personal possessions, calling someone to come and get the rest, as well as putting her house on the market. It was such an emotionally exhausting time. You'll get through it. I'm so glad you're with family as you do.

Hugs to you.

Redneck Mommy said...

I couldn't imagine having to go through my loved one's stuff so soon after their passing. I still haven't been able to bring myself to put Bug's clothing in a box. It's still in his drawers as though he will magically reappear and need a pair of clean overalls or a fresh bib.

Sigh.

You have my sincerest, deepest, warmest prayers Jess. I wish I could offer more.

Kellan said...

Such a beautiful post. So sorry about the loss of your beloved grandmother.

Sue at nobaddays said...

Jessica, so sorry about your loss, and glad that you are surrounded by family.

FENICLE said...

You should go read the poem that Flutter wrote (if you have time). The end talks about how your heart cries for your hands - to hold it & heal it.

Shazia said...

I am so sorry to hear about your loss, Jessica. Sending you lots of hugs and peace.
-Shazia

Shazia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shannon said...

I am so sorry for your loss. I hope the warmth of family and the beauty of rural Virignia help ease the pain as you reflect on the memories your grandparents made together.

major bedhead said...

If it were me, I'd probably keep all those notes and random scraps of paper and put them in a collage or album or something. Handwritten things are so fascinating and so immediate; it's like hearing whispers from the past.

You've often been in my thoughts this week. Words are so inadequate...all I can do is send my wishes for some peace for you and your family.

Grim Reality Girl said...

I am so sorry. I am lifting your family up in prayer. I remember the photos you had posted of 4 generations... I was happy for you and jealous (having lost my mom). Hold on to some of the scraps... they can bring comfort later. I am sorry your grief is rushed by the practicalities of distance and time constraints. I am praying for you and your family. What a blessing that your blog brought her comfort! Sometimes it is the little things that we cling to...

Rockel said...

Speaking from experience, keep the papers for now.

They take up little space relative to furniture, jewelry and the other items of value for which you may find a place in your home.

Reading Mommie's notes can take me back... Her handwriting, the smell of her home and the flower from her kitchen are all on these papers. The only other time I get this close to her is when I am able to listen to my mom and her sisters chat.

There is nothing like a good granny. You were lucky to have one.

liv said...

Just continuing to send you light and warmth and prayers. xoxo

moosh in indy. said...

Fuzzy warm hugs kisses and cookies are being beamed to you.
I'm so sorry, I'm thinking about you.

JamesMommy said...

Jess, I am so very sorry for your loss. It was nearly my undoing when my grandmother passed away a couple of years ago. Share her memories with Roo. Hugs and prayers to you and yours.

Melina said...

Jess

We love you and please know that we are here for you ((HUGS))

I didn't read all of the comments so I don't know if this was suggested but what about making a scrap book of all those pieces of paper? Just a thought

Mimi aka pz5wjj said...

I'm so sorry you're going through this. I know you being there is a comfort to your mother.

When my Gramma died we found all sorts of bits and pieces and scraps of paper too that just "were" Gramma.

I'm thinking of you and your family.

aimee / greeblemonkey said...

"Perhaps I should build a fire and send them to her." - Lovely. Simply lovely.

We've all been thinking of you.

XOXOX

BOSSY said...

That's the thing about memories, they belong in the head and expressed through words. It's what to do with the lingering paperwork that Bossy can't figure out either...

Nancy said...

I've been thinking of you and your family, Jess. I know it's not much but it's all I can do.

rivergirlie said...

darling girl - i'm so sorry for your loss. xxx

Y said...

I'm just now reading this.

I'm so sorry, J. Sending love to you and your family.

Victoria said...

Again, I'm so sorry. Take care.

ALM said...

I'm so sorry. And so sorry I didn't read this earlier to send earlier condolences....

wayabetty said...

Memories, sweet memories, my friend will hopefully get you through this hard time. Thoughts and prayers are with you and yours!