A step of bravery…
For those who don’t know, my Grandpa, (who died in March), was my hero. We were alike in so many ways and I’m quite certain I was his favorite. I’m not saying that to brag, My grandpa was not a very openly affectionate person most of his life. He was a Chief in the Navy and he had a tough skin. But I somehow broke through that skin and nestled my way into his heart and he into mine.
After my grandpa died as a family we were sitting around talking about the funeral and if we wanted to plan a memorial service of some kind before it (we didn’t have one) and my grandma said to me at one point ‘What do you want to do Shelby? You loved him more than anyone else.” Hearing those words both warmed and broke my heart because it was in that moment I realized it was true, I did love Grandpa probably more than anyone else on this earth. We somehow had become connected, I still feel like our souls are linked, I understood my grandpa and I was his girl. When he died a piece of my heart went with him but I didn’t let myself feel the ache too much. I wanted to be brave and be strong but I hid my grief.
My grandpa was cremated and his ashes sat in an urn in our living room until September when we finally had his funeral and he was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. I have pictures from his funeral and I’ve almost blogged about the experience and put them up here but I haven’t because the emotions are still so raw even these months later.I don’t like to talk about it because I know it would open up the flood of emotions and i’m not ready for them yet.
But the one part of his funeral I continually think about is when Mr. White, who was with us throughout the funeral taking us from one place to the other, at the end said to me “You will be the one to carry on your Grandfather’s legacy.” This man did not know the relationship I had with Grandpa or how much I adored him. But he spoke the words into my heart that I knew but hadn’t let myself believe. I understood my grandpa and I will be the one to carry him in my heart and make bold steps and always do what I know is right.
I didn’t take my first bold step until last night. And it probably won’t see bold to most people but for me it was huge. After Grandpa died and we cleaned out his room Grandma re-decorated it to make it more girly, homey and to be my room. But when my Uncle stayed with us to help out he slept in there and I slept in my old room or in Grandma’s room. (my room has no central heating/air thats why I was moving into Grandpa’s room) But even after my uncle left I wasn’t able to sleep in Grandpa’s room. Even though he didn’t die in that bed and it looked very different I still felt his presence lingering in that room. Instead I began sitting in his chair and the weekends when I came home I actually slept in the recliner (Grandpa’s recliner). But I still couldn’t sleep in his bed.
A few weekends ago I did sleep in his room, but with my good friend Aimee, because I didn’t think about him as much but stayed up chatting with her and being silly. However last night I did my bones and heart a favor and slept in his room. I always have very vivid dreams when I am hurting or stressed and I have nightmares a lot. I was afraid this would happen last night; it was another reason I didn’t want to sleep there. But last night I slept better than I have in months I didn’t dream, I was warm and cozy and when I woke up this morning my heart felt lighter and refreshed. I woke up enveloped in warmth with the sun shining in and my entire being felt rested.
It probably seems silly to many, but for me it was the first step I’ve taken towards allowing my heart to heal and learning how exactly I will carry on my grandpa’s legacy.
Like the beautiful, star gardener, teresa said… Its all about the baby steps