This has been an extended week full of celebration, and on my actual birthday I woke up to a beautiful bouquet of flowers that my brother had sent, together with a very kind message.  I then proceeded to open all my gifts, which were thoughtful beyond belief.  Every single one of my immediate family members checked in, and no one could believe I was doing a trial on my birthday, but I was really looking forward to it– all we were arguing about was the fair distribution of assets.  It doesn’t get any cleaner than that, and I also knew that no matter what, I would end the day going to a nice dinner with my favorite little person in the whole wide world.  So why the tears?

Nine months ago, my grandmother passed away at the age of 97.  I did not shed a single tear at her funeral, and my voice did not even crack as I gave the eulogy.  Since then, however, I have been thinking about her lessons a lot.  She was not just religious, but very spiritual.  She taught me how to pray, and warned me to beware of evil spirits.  She believed deeply in community service and the need to show gratitude for what we have in life.  To her, every day was a blessing, and she always reminded me that death was inevitable, so there was no point in fearing it.  She was so amazingly strong and independant– never believing she needed a man to complete her, which come to think of it is pretty radical for a woman in her time. (I realize this does explain a lot about me.)

This woman that raised me was actually far wiser than I gave her credit for, until recently.  She never believed in debt, and never became attached to things.  Hers was an incredibly simple existence, which is actually quite genius.  She never got caught up in the drama of others, and never complained when things did not go her way, because she fundamentally believed that everything happened for a reason, and she never deluded herself into thinking that she actually had any power to control others.  All she knew she could ever do was stay true to herself and her beliefs, and that is exactly what she did until the day she died, quite peacefully with a tremendous amount of love and admiration from all those she touched during her life time.

For reasons I cannot fully articulate, these past few months I have really felt her presence, and I’ve been following her advice a lot.  Everyone around me has noticed a palpable difference, even in some of my writings it should by now be quite obvious.  Somehow, it is as if she knew it was time to let go of her vessel, so that she could perhaps become a freer energy source, and maybe this was her final gift to me so that this way we could be closer than we have been in years, ever since her mind and body really started to decline.

Out of nowhere, the tears began to flow at oddly peaceful times this week, which is a bit shocking to someone who maybe cries once or twice a year.  Luckily, I figured it out rather quickly– it’s because I now have to accept that I will never hear her voice again on my birthday, something I just took for granted for the last 40 years.  I will never again be able to hear her laugh or feel her embrace.  She never got to see me on national tv this summer or see our family’s story published in my children’s book, not that this would matter much to her, but she was always supportive of my endeavors as long as I was happy.

I finally understand why people say that after you lose a loved one, it is special occassions and holidays that are the toughest.  I’m just glad people warned me that this is common, and I’m eternally grateful to those that encouraged me to go see her when she first had her stroke, so I was able to say good-bye before she actually left this Earth.   It was easy to let her go then of course, because she was not well.  There was no doubt that it was her time then, just as it is mine now to finally mourn the loss of one of the gentlest souls I’ve ever met.

Everything really does happen in due time, and as the song says, “it’s my party, and I can cry if I want to.”

By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.