September 16, 2011 my Grandma Brown passed away. I remember really early in the morning my mom calling me and I just knew, I knew that was the call letting me know that Grandma Brown had passed away.
From a very young age I remember going to Provo all of the time to be with Grandpa and Grandma Brown. I would spend the weekends at their home. I absolutely loved going with grandma to church and I would work with her in the library at church. I loved helping her do her calling. I loved sleepovers at grandma’s house. She had a cupboard of treats and she was soooo loving. Throughout all of my childhood and teenage years I knew her house was my safe place. I felt so loved. I knew that grandma loved me no matter what. She and I would walk to Carson’s Market place. We celebrated almost every holiday with my grandparents. They were to everything. I spent hours with grandma. She brought pure joy and happiness to my life. My son, Brayden, had a very special bond with her his whole life.
When my mom called to let me know grandma passed away I felt sad, talked with my mom, but then was off to take care of things at the school. I remember distinctly being at the school in the afternoon and talking to the principal, who is a great friend, and sharing that my grandma had passed away that morning. I was sad, but things would be fine. I think my friend was surprised by my lack of emotions.
As we were planning the funeral I had the school carnival I was in charge of and begged that it be the next day, just not on the carnival day. I needed to follow through with the carnival and all of the things I had going on.
My mom was asked to speak, but she was too nervous to speak so she asked if I would speak in her place. My mom and I sat down and wrote the talk together so that I could share my mom’s words at the funeral. I remember being at the funeral and feeling peaceful and overall good to give the talk.
I don’t remember mourning for long or even shedding too many tears. My grandma was in a better place, I was busy and honestly my heart was locked in a cage, a cage that I had kept under tight locks for pretty much my whole life.
I loved, oh trust me, I loved. I’ve been blessed with friendships, family and people in my life that I cherish. Many I couldn’t imagine not having in my life. I’ve always been known to serve and work hard and put my whole heart into things, well, into things, not people. People would feel my sincere concern, love and support, but not my whole heart. There was a very big piece of me that I kept locked up very tightly and protected.
In December 2019 I started counseling after pretty much a nervous breakdown. I couldn’t carry the weight of everything that was inside of me any longer. I started counseling and of course I asked my counselor what was the agenda, how long would this process take and he told me I wasn’t a checklist, to do list, but a person.
As I’ve gone through counseling for the last 20 months pretty much every week there has been so much I’ve focused on healing, processing and learning, but one of those things was learning to unlock the protection I’ve had around my heart for YEARS and YEARS and YEARS!!! I would dare say 47 years.
As I’ve unlocked my heart I’ve realized how much deeper I could love. I’ve realized how much more I could feel. I’ve realized how many more emotions there are to me. It’s new to me. In reality its new to those close to me - including Rick and my boys. Our relationships have grown much deeper - deeper routes, deeper conversations, more meaningful connections. Sometimes that’s not so easy to process when things have been a certain way for so long. Not only have my family relationships deepened, but relationships, friendships have deepened. There have been those that have become extremely close to me that I love dearly and trust, a trust I didn’t know was even possible. There’s been a safety, a feeling of these are my people, core people.
So, in August when my dad got sick and went to the hospital the first time I cried. I cried for hours at the baseball field. I was scared - he had covid and I didn’t want him in the hospital where I might not be able to see him. Then he came home the next day and my mind was at ease, peace. I thought alright he’s on the mend this is good and I went about my life. We had a busy August. AND THEN, he went back to the hospital on Wednesday, but I thought alright this will be like last time, in and out. THEN on Saturday morning my mom asked everyone to gather at her home, we needed to make some decisions. I thought it would be about their 50th or something, but no, it was that dad lost consciousness and we had to make some hard decisions. We made the hard decisions as a family and had hope. We would get the miracle again - dad would be home with us in no time.
Then reality set in, his organs were failing, he wasn’t coming home. He wasn’t going to make it. WHAT??????? This cannot be happening. My life might as well have stopped. On Thursday I had the opportunity to spend a few minutes with him alone and as I left his room I told my dad, this isn’t goodbye. I still held onto hope, though it was such a small glimmer of hope. On Sunday we gathered around his bed in the hospital and he passed peacefully.
He wasn’t going to make it. WHAT??????? This cannot be happening. My life might as well have stopped.
I’ve never cried so many tears in my life. I’ve shut down. I’ve not been able to respond to messages. I’ve not even read the birthday wishes that were sent to me on the day of my dad’s funeral, my birthday. I can hardly leave my home and interact with people. My heart hurts in ways I’ve never experienced in my life. I truly believe I could die from this broken heart I feel.
Through this journey I’ve reflected a lot about how I processed and felt through the passing of my Grandma Brown, who I think about every single day of my life and often wish I had her as my safe place still and the passing of my dad. Which way is better? Healthier? I was able to move forward with my life and get things done. I was very productive and I was able to accept she was in a better place, happier, healthier. My heart was caged from the emotions and really connecting to the loss. I was too busy to feel.
With my dad, I’ve unlocked my heart, I’ve loved deeper, long for that one more conversation, one more hug, to hear those words “I love you sweetheart”. Though I could be busy, I’ve pretty much stopped my life. I’ve been able to do a few things, but my heart is completely broken. There’s not a day I haven’t cried since he got sick - for hours. I spoke at his funeral and I was strong at first, but then I cried. I cried in front of so many people.
Because the other way is so much more familiar to me I’ve longed for that so much. Why did I unlock my heart? Why did I let down my guard and love deeper? Why have I let people in so much closer to me - to who I really am - to what I’ve been through? This hasn’t felt the safest, wisest road. I’ve been angry. I’ve been so mad that I let my guard down. I knew it. Love doesn’t last. Those I love the most will leave. They will be taken away from me. Can I trust love? Should I choose to continue to love with an open heart, with all I am or should I lock my heart back up? I have battled these thoughts every single day since my dad got sick. What is my value in people’s lives if they leave - either through death or day to day life or choose to leave my life specifically? Why would people choose to stay in my life?
I don’t have the answer. I know deep down what the answer is - to keep myself open and love deeply, but there are no words to describe the pain right now. My boys would say its the best thing that’s happened in our home so I will keep fighting and working to reprogram, to continue to grow and become better, the better, happier me and hopefully someday I can find some peace in the loss of my dad. Hopefully someday my heart will feel as one again.
A wife and mother of 4 boys and 2 daughter-in-law, I have spent my entire adult life devoted to my family. I have been busy in their schools, supporting them in all of their school work, sporting events, activities, etc. I spent years heavily involved in the PTA, church callings, etc Life for me has always been overwhelmingly busy. While I thought this was my sanity, the truth is it masked issues - real issues - that I needed to work on to gain true sanity. I am sharing my story in this blog. I do this so that I might be able to help other women find their true sanity