My wife’s grandfather passed away recently. He was an amazing man who brought so much joy, laughter, and happiness to everyone in his life. Loss, in all forms, is difficult. When you lose your child, you mourn someone you should have had more time with. When you lose a grandparent, you mourn someone you had so much time with. While different, similarly difficult in that time impacts your grief — whether you had too little, or as much as possible.
While we were at his funeral, and hearing family and friends talk about his life, I started to think about his obituary. Of the various sections you can reliably predict will be included in the obituary, I wondered if Lila would be included in the “pre-deceased by” list of names. His great-granddaughter. She was.
The obituary was unbelievably, and beautifully, written and I can’t adequately articulate the happiness, relief, and fulfillment that I felt to see Lila’s name included. I still, 5 years later, do some pretty intense mental and emotional gymnastics when considering how others see, or remember, Lila. Or how they don’t. I consider her part of our family, but does the rest of my family think of her? I often talk, and write, about Lila being overlooked and forgotten. The pain associated with people omitting her is suffocating. The validation associated with people remembering her is elating.
I realized Lila being considered, remembered, and loved by my friends and family is the what I need the most. That’s what those closest to you can do for you in the wake of your loss. While I’m here and they’re not: remember, and acknowledge, them.