Every last drop...a life well loved...

""I told you I was gonna squeeze every last drop outta this life...love ya, love ya, love ya."~ Pop~Pop

It has been a heartbreaking and emotional few months. It is nearly impossible, in the midst of grief, not to think of the moments we have lost; the people we loved most, gone in the exhale of one single breath. It seems for quite some time, that we too, are unable to remember how to breathe.

I am just now beginning to breathe again...to process what it is to have lost. And to have loved.

In November, I lost my grandpa. My Pop-Pop. Even as I type those words, the tears come easily...and hard. How can it even be possible that this person, this person I LOVED, be gone? I ache to hear his voice, to hear him tell a story with enthusiasm only he had. I push play on the last voicemail he left me just so I can hear him say, "Love ya, love ya, love ya." The way he did at the end of every conversation. Those words filled my empty spaces. I hope they filled his too when I said them back to him. And I hope they gave him peace in knowing he was so loved, surrounded by family, when those were the last words he would ever hear.

We wanted to move him back home up to Maryland. He wanted to come. We had plans coming together to get him home to us. But his heart had other plans. I got a call. Can you please get to him? We can't make it until Tuesday. And so my whole family pulled together; reconnecting with each other to make new plans, gift flight miles, and lend support. I spent 8 days with him in the hospital and then in hospice care. I could fill a book with all the events, emotions and thoughts from those 8 days. Maybe another time. For now, I will tuck those memories into my heart. Maybe those are for only he and I.

He had moved down to Florida with my grandma before she passed away 5 years ago. I think for many years he probably couldn't leave because it was the last place they were together. She was his everything. Even in his last days, his thoughts were, "I just wanna be with my baby; I want to kiss my baby." I wanted that for him. So, even though my heart was and is deep in grief, I celebrate that their energy is reunited. Even if it really all is just dust to dust.

In the end, it seems there is a trembling. A shattering and breaking free from all the bullshit that never mattered. And a surrender to forgiveness, and to love and to wholeness once again. To a place of healing while being broken beyond repair. It is incredibly beautiful and if I am really, really honest, and not looking for the good, it really, truly fucking sucked. The happiness and sadness. The wholeness you feel from sharing love with another person, yet the heartbreak of losing them. It all feels so stuck. The knot in your throat of all the things left unsaid, all the calls you forgot to make, all the times you wished you had done this, said that. It is all there..

I promised him I wouldn't leave him. I saw him take his last breath. I wrote his obituary.

I think the finality of it all...that is the most excruciating pain a person can experience. For the one leaving and the ones losing.  How can we go on when this feels like the end? I don't have those answers yet.

And so I grieve. And celebrate. That he was a place where I felt like I belonged. That we brought comfort to each other in the midst of transitions.

I carry his heartbeat within my own. His unbreakable love and the lessons learned. His flowery, fish tale stories. And now I find his voice whispering in my heart, calling me home to my innermost wisdom.

As he completed his journey here on this earth, his last moments were spent in the company and thoughts of his loving family.  He passed peacefully in his sleep.

He was a man devoted to his family, and had such a special kind of love for my grandma, Cecilia. He loved old jazz music, bear hugging, watching his favorite old movies and daily stories and he knew that the way to end any great day was with a plate of homemade spaghetti and a spirited game of scrabble. 

We take comfort knowing his life was not just a life well-lived, but a life well-LOVED.

As he began the end of his journey with us here on this earth, one of the last things he said was, "I told you I was gonna squeeze every last drop out of this life."  And what beautiful life advice to leave behind.  To experience and to cherish; to not take for granted any moment of this one precious life.

With his passing, the end of his days...I am reminded...

"Sunsets are proof that endings can often be beautiful too..."~ Beau Taplin

♥ Pop-Pop...love ya, love ya, love ya. ♥