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she was not perfect

liz lamoreux


She was not perfect.
In fact, I often described her as crotchety (well, not to her face).
She was private to a fault, and she criticized her children too much.
She was married to my grandfather for 59 years and 7 months.
She did not have many friends; she seemed to enjoy solitude.
A gentleness began to blossom inside her when her grandchildren were born.
She could seem difficult to know, private, and distant. But not with me.
She taught me how to laugh, to be silly, to jump on the bed.
She taught me to love hummingbirds, spring, walks on the beach.
She sent me the most wonderful cards. I keep running across them in the oddest places. Stuck between books, in a random box in the garage, in a pile of old bills. I miss those little surprises in the mail. And now I realize the time and care she spent picking them out to reflect that moment in time in my life.
She gave me soft, warm socks every Christmas for the last 15 years. Every year. After she died, in her room, next to her bed, was a pair just like the ones she gave me last year. I took them and wear them all the time. Soft, fuzzy, blue ones.


We were just getting to the good part. The part where we talked like friends. She was beginning to open up...
She lost a friend in the war. She wished she would have sewn a few more oats. She wasn't sure how to tell her children that she loved them. She was on her own spiritual journey and talking about it.
The good stuff. The guts of life as I say. How much more I wanted to know. To ask. To learn.

But I am learning this...
When someone dies, the pain is deeper, wider, stronger than you thought it would be.
It does not go away; it only softens every now and then.
The loss does not make sense.
It does not matter that the person "lived a long life." The missing is still there.
Others may not have experienced this kind of loss yet; they will not know what to say to you.
Your sadness may bring up too much for others; they will not know what to say to you.
People may say incredibly hurtful things to you; that is about them and not about you.
The person who has died is still a part of you. That does not go away; you will just forget sometimes because the missing hurts so much.
I am learning that I am not alone in this world of missing. Other people have experienced this deep grief. One of my dear friends has listened to me talk on the phone for hours. Other new friends have left me the kindest comments on this blog. And others have written their own blog entries about loss. There are some authors who have spoken their truth about this subject as well and I am starting to find them and am feeling brave enough to read.
The truth is, until you experience it, you do not understand. At least I did not.
And because this is my current path, I am going to continue to write about it every now and then.

She taught me to laugh at myself as often as possible.
She taught me how to make sugar cookies.
She was critical at times. I forgave her.
She was sometimes melancholy. I understand.
She was not perfect. Thank goodness.
She taught me to love hummingbirds, spring, walks on the beach.

If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in.
Rachel Carson