Very recently Grandmas dad passed.

It was hard to watch her go through something I am so familiar with. I talked with the boys about trying to keep their hooligan shenanigans to a minimum during the days just before his passing and in the days after. I tried to give her space but also let her know I was there. It’s hard to know what another person needs in their time of mourning.

I contemplated a Facebook post but after attempting several times I gave up. I just didn’t have the words.

It’s all so complicated.

I have a blended family. My children have different fathers, and their families have embraced all of us – Chases family taking care of Matt when need be and Matt’s family taking care if Chase. They all act like we’re all blood, and really it’s a wonderful thing. I know I have all of them to lean on and go to should I need it, not just for the boys but for myself as well. It’s a pretty fortunate thing.

I remember being 16 and wanting the picture perfect family and life. Marrying one man and spending my life with him, with the 2 kids (a boy and a girl of course) and big goofy loyal dog and picket fence.

I got me a chihuahua, two boys, never been married, and two ‘baby daddies’. It’s not at all what I envisioned.

But, I’m not mad.

It took me a long time to realize that me keeping my life together requires not just one family, but three. There have been times when I’ve had to enlist multiple people from my own family and both the boys families to help me get my shit together and back on track. I had a string of bad luck and I felt like I was constantly asking for help from one person or another. And while I felt like shit for having to ask for help, never once was I made to feel we were a burden.

Whoever is in charge of these things took one look at me and said “yeah. . . She’s gonna need a lot of help if she’s gonna make it in this world.” And I was blessed with a big family. Thirteen years ago I was given a whole other family when I had Matthew B. And still another when I had Chaser. And they accept me for who I am and my kids for who they are and help us whenever the need arises. I count them as family, blood or not.

It’s not that I didn’t have the words when Grandmas dad died. It’s that I had too many.

How could I have conveyed all that I was feeling? I was feeling empathy for Grandma – having lost my own father I knew all too well the hole she felt in her heart. But there was also confusion as to what to do for her because I know that not everyone deals with the loss of a loved one the same. I was dealing with my own grief – the man was Poppa to both my boys, had many kind words for me over the years and I was genuinely fond of the man. He was as much my family as any of my blood relatives. How could I explain my thoughts and feelings in a simple Facebook post?

Life continued with its hecticness and in the background I contemplated all of this.

The subject of grief came up again when I reposted a WordPorn quote I had shared a couple years prior on Facebook.

It’s something I am continually learning about, through my own experiences and other people sharing their own. I’m not a stranger to it – if you’ve been reading my posts for any length of time you know this. I battle with it daily. I have 25 posts under the topic ‘loss’. Writing helps me cope and learn more about myself and how to deal with it all. But all I know is my own feelings, my own specific grief. I don’t know yours or anyone elses.

What I can tell you is that the WordPorn quote is so scarily accurate that it made me cry real, ugly tears the first time I read it.

I remember all too well the lost feeling.

I remember all too well feeling like a part of me went with my father when he left this Earth.

And I remember all too well the realization that while I am surrounded by so many people who love me and would do anything for me that I was alone in my grief, because no one loved my father just exactly like I did. No one could feel the pain I felt because no one was me and no one person loved any other person the exact same way. I believe there is a saying that people are like snowflakes, each unique from another and that’s what makes them beautiful. Love and grief are like that. too. You love your father differently than I do, so therefore you don’t know my pain just like I don’t know yours. And so, like a snowflake is unique and beautiful, I’ve come to find that grief is unique and beautiful, as well. Yes, I said grief is beautiful. It is. Because in our grief – so long as we embrace it for what it is – we can find things out about ourselves we didn’t know existed. If not for grief I would not have learned to love life the way I do.

So many people lost my father – my brother, my grandparents and aunts and uncles, family friends. . . But at the end of the day, we all went home with our own unique grief as we coped with our loss.

Grief is a journey. Sometimes the journey is short and easily navigated. Other times it is long and torturous.

I’ve shared snipits of my journey with you all. It’s been a long and torturous one, and I know it’s not over. The first year was definitely the worst, as I learned how to navigate on my own. The three families I have helped when and if the need arose, but a lot of it was an inward battle with my mind and heart, things that you have to allow others to know about if they’re going to be of any help. I don’t let people in easily; I never have and at a time when I felt my most vulnerable that was more the case than ever before. If anything I pushed people further away. But in doing so I found the people who were the most loyal. I found out people’s true colors. The old saying is true. Those that weather the storm by your side and all of that? I know who I can count on now. And my boys families are those I know I can count on.

I’m going to cut this off here and continue in another post. I try to break up long thought processes for you all, and for myself as well, so I can breathe in between the hard parts. Many times I’ve tried to write my specific journey and haven’t been able to. I think now I’m ready.

Published by: A. Elizardo

Single mother to two amazing boys, sister to an inspiration, and the daughter of two opinionated, sarcastic, fun loving individuals that are no longer physically with us. Music, writing, reading, my family - living and gone - are what keep me going as I put on my rose colored glasses and navigate us through this crazy world.

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