It’s here. A date that will forever be ingrained in my brain.
Some people say that a date doesn’t mean much, that if it’s a date when a loved one passed, you’re going to miss them all year long. While that’s absolutely true, I’ve come to know that dates do matter. Some of them stick with us for whatever reason, and I can’t help but have this one be one of them. It was a tragedy, and tragedies we remember.
Three years ago today, my world was rocked harder than I ever thought possible. My grandmother was gone. The details of that day are as clear as if it had happened yesterday. I remember where I was when I received the news, what I was doing, what I did upon receiving the tragic news, how I felt…all of it. I felt like I had been punched in the gut. Hard. And as terrifyingly sad as it was to no longer have my grandmother in my life, I will never, ever forget the raw pain and emotions of my grandpa, having witnessed and lived through her passing. Seeing his beloved headbutted by a cow and crumple to the ground. Crying out to her not to leave him. Holding her body and begging her not to go.
In the next few days after it happened, we were all at their house doing who knows what. People were in and out and all around. And then I found myself in their home with my sister and my grandfather while everyone else was outside. He was sitting in his chair with his head slumped down, the emotional pain radiating from his skin and exhaled breaths. My sister and I pulled up chairs to sit beside him and hold his hands. It was all we knew to do for him. And then it happened. He told us what he remembered.
He replayed the incident to us, his voice cracking, his head shaking. He wished it would’ve been him to go and not her. He told us how he held her and cried out to her, begging her not to leave him. That he loved her. That he didn’t know what he would do without her. The blood. The cow. The dog. And his painful trek to the house to call for help. He didn’t tell us everything – he probably didn’t remember everything. But he said enough…the parts that really stuck with him.
To this day, that totally one-sided conversation has been the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through. I didn’t know how to help him. I couldn’t help him. Not only did he lose his wife and best friend, but he witnessed the entire thing. I couldn’t even begin to imagine what that must have felt like for him. Nothing I could have said would ease his suffering. I just repeatedly told him that I loved him, over and over and over again, and that I was glad that he was still with us, for however long he had left. I knew that he didn’t want to be there with us. He wanted to be with her in Heaven. I surely couldn’t blame him! But he was still here for a reason, and I did my absolute best to show him how much I loved him and how much he meant to me. He was, and still is, a huge part of who I am, and to see him suffering that much hurt my heart in ways that can probably never be mended.
And so we’re here. November 7th. A day that brings back the memories of that dreadful Monday and the dark days that followed. For me, November 7th will never be forgotten.