The loss of her sometimes seems to overshadow the loss of O'pa but I think that's just because we helped each other through loosing him. I stayed with her for over a week after he died because I wasn't sure I would be able to breathe again, if I left their house. We spent days without talking, going through the motions. I would fix her meals and we would both pretend to eat; at night I would lie beside her and we would cry until our bodies ran out of steam. On the night before I left she admitted to staying up late the weeks he was sick, and spending hours sitting in his chair just to feel close to him and smell him; her honesty was so comforting that I admitted to sneaking into his room when my shift was over and it was someone else's turn with him, because I was afraid I would regret not being with him for every second he had remaining. That night was the first night I hadn't cried my self to sleep since the beginning of August (he died on August 18th). I still didn't want to leave the safety of their home but at least I wasn't leaving scared, she had given me hope because I still had her.
You see, my relationship with my O'ma and O'pa was anything but typical. I was blessed with a wonderful set of parents who have always done above and beyond what parents (and people) should do for me, but O'ma and O'pa were like Parents+. I spent my Summer, Winter and Spring breaks happily by their sides. In large part, I have them to thank for being able to see all 48 Continetial United States; our times in the camper, seeing America will never be forgotten. We stayed up late playing games, teasing each other, and mapping out the next day's route. We spent countless hours discussing life, love, and trials. I was given unriveled access to their stories, lives and histories; nothing was off the table, I could ask them anything. There were times when I could tell that it was a tough topic, there were many pregnant pauses and answers that began with, "It was a different time..." They told me the truth.
There were times in their past where they disappointed themselves; but as they recounted these moments, they made sure to inform me that Parents and Grandparents are people and that they make mistakes. This was probably the best information they ever game me; sure it lowered the pedestal I had placed them on, but it was vital. I was able to go back to this lesson as time marched on. I used it as a point of reference with my parents and once I became a parent; it puts things in perspective and lowers anxiety levels when considering some of the tough choices that parents have to make.
These two were good people. They showed me how to be a person, how to live my life, and how to die with dignity. The world was a better place because of them and I am a better person for having known them. This legacy that they left me, must be handled with care and put into place. I will leave this earth much better than how I found it.