When I found out that my grandmother had stage 4 ovarian cancer, I was crushed. I wrote at the time about how I was not afraid to die but I was afraid to lose. Little did I know then that over the next couple of years, life would throw me a sandstorm of death, loss, and grief to overcome. And when it came time to say goodbye to my grandmother (last week) I would be prepared.

My grandmother was the type of woman that women wanted to be around because she was genuine. You can’t fake that. And she was a woman that men wanted to be around, too, because there was a tender beauty about her; respect, loyalty, courage. People respond to that. She was the kindest soul that I have ever known. In my twenty-six years, I never heard her whisper a negative word, not one complaint.

She raised seven children and still gave charity to those who needed it. She went to church every Sunday. And even in the end, even after years of suffering through her sickness, her smile still lit up the room. My grandmother was an artist—a truly gifted painter whose paintings could steal your breath away for their beauty. She was a gardener. In the spring and summer, her house seemed to pop up among her flowers—wildflowers in every shade & colour of the sunset. She was a bowler, an avid reader, a knitter, a movie lover, and so much more. She held more passion for life in her little finger than most people hold in a lifetime. I am so infinitely grateful to have known her, to have shared in her life of light, and to call myself her granddaughter.

When my grandmother got sick, I was terrified. Although I accept my own mortality, the thought of losing a loved one was more than I could bear. I had never been through the process (as an adult) and I didn’t know how I would go on. But then it happened. On October 2, 2010, my cat Mika went missing. Seven days later, she was hit by a car a couple of miles away from our home. It was the worst thing that ever happened to me. I came face to face with a pain that I never knew was possible.

Somehow, though, I managed to push through it. As hard as it was, I found a way to find beauty and strength in the pain. I chose to become a creator rather than a victim. I chose light over darkness; hope over suffering; strength over weakness; and beauty over fear. Some hours were more difficult than others and some days were more difficult still, but slowly I made it through and I learned a great deal from that experience.

I learned that death is a part of life. The cycle of life and death is a circle. Without death there would be no life. It is inevitable, difficult, but completely necessary. Our society does not deal with death in a healthy, productive way. Rather, death is a taboo subject. It is dark, terrifying, and dreaded. If we would only accept it as a part of life, much of the fear surrounding it would fall away. And that is how it has been for me. Since coming face to face with death and burying Mika, I have had no choice but to accept it, embrace it, and come away from it with strength.

When my grandmother passed away last week, I was prepared. You are never ready to say goodbye. Death is never easy. But with acceptance and love in our hearts, it is a manageable obstacle—a temporary farewell and an opportunity to practice gratitude for the time we had together.

Instead of saying goodbye to my grandmother last week, I chose to say: “Until we meet again.” Although her physical body laid at rest in the casket before me, I knew that her spirit had long since moved from that space. That day, I felt her in the light surrounding me. Now, I feel her in the sun setting outside of my window. I feel her in the snowflakes falling softly from the sky. I carry her with me—the way that I carry all of my loved ones that have gone on before me—I carry her in my heart.

Thank you to all of my readers, friends, & family that have been here for me through this farewell. Your generosity and kindness is nothing short of inspiring.

7 thoughts on “Until We Meet Again, Grandma: Evolving Thoughts on Death”

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  4. Dena, your grandmother would be so proud to read these words, to see the fruits of what you learned from her. She passed on untold riches to you that will live on in your amazing views on life. Xo

    1. @ Andra – Thank you so much, my beautiful friend. I am truly blessed to have lived in the presence of her light. I will always be grateful. My words are a small thank you for this gift.

      You are so sweet. Your kindness through this farewell will be forever remembered in my heart. Thank you again.

  5. I chanced upon your blog and found it really good. Life , Love and Simplicity so aptly describes what you have written. I loved the passage that describes your grandma..”She raised seven children”  You are gifted and you have filled everyone who reads this blog with  love. Until we meet again!

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