I've never really been an emotional person. I'm typically fairly stoic.
So why did I get choked up at a most unexpected moment? I don't know.
Let me paint the picture...
Family in tow, I drove (well, my husband drove...I rode) 16 hours over two days to arrive at my grandmother's bedside on Sunday. We did so because she wasn't expected to live more than one week.
The moments spent together in her final hours replay, over and over, in my mind. The entire time I was with her, I was present. I was really present.
Maybe, too present.
I noticed how soft her hair felt as I stroked her head. I was reminded of her gentle strength each time she gripped my hand. I observed the changes in her demeanor at the mere mention of things and people she loved. I was cognizant of how she reacted to my care-taking. Her love was conveyed with every glance.
Through it all, I never felt sadness or fear. I just wanted to be of service. I wanted to comfort her. That was my only focus.
A short 12 hours later, she was gone. Five to six hours later, we embarked on the 16-hour journey back home. And this time, we did the trip without stopping overnight.
It wasn't until the return trip that I started to reflect on the past. I looked through pictures and remembered each of the moments with joy. I recalled cards she had sent me and her beautiful handwritten messages. I remembered crocheted blankets, Redskins paraphernalia, and other gifts received through the years. I also remembered some painful moments, like the first time she didn't send me a birthday card and not being able to speak to her on her most recent birthday.
I'm not devoid emotion. I felt love when I was with my grandmother. And I felt joy and even sadness when recalling some memories. But, I didn't cry.
Was something wrong with me? Why wasn't I sad that she'd passed? I chalked it up to the fact that I was content. I believed I was comforted by the fact that I got to see her before she passed. I knew she'd lived a long life. And, I'm quite comfortable in my belief that she's not really left me.
The very day we returned (without stopping), I slept briefly and went to work to prepare for a significant meeting I had planned.
While addressing my colleagues at work on Wednesday morning, I thanked them for their patience given the meeting was rescheduled to accommodate my family emergency. That's when the tears came.
In that unexpected moment, my body spoke to me. It told me that I'm not content. It told me that it's sad. It told me that I hadn't even begun to process what happened.
Navigating my grandmother's death is a process that's going to take however long it takes. And, I'll ride the waves as they come and go.
Be open to what comes.