On Closure

My grandmother passed away on April 19th. She had fought a long and hard fight against cancer, and was at peace that it was her time. She raised ten kids, who had 23 kids of their own, who have had 25 kids of their own, so far. She had a memorable laugh, enjoyed white wine, but drank red because her doctor told her it was healthier, and always wore great accessories. Her chocolate fudge was famous, she was proud of her Welsh heritage and for every birthday and Christmas, she gave her grandchildren $10 in $2 bills. When I was packing to go home for the funeral, I was cleaning old receipts out of my wallet and found this:

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This was the envelope she had given to me this past Christmas.

Her services were lovely, and included a morning toast at the cemetery.

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I cried a lot and it was good. You see, I had missed two funerals in the past few years: my paternal grandmother passed away in 2010, but I was living in Atlanta at the time and my parents encouraged me to stay south and not make the trip. Then, last fall my Uncle died in a tragic accident. Already under stress, my family said it would be nerve-wracking to have me on the road alone during the long drive. I felt at the time that I had dealt with my grief, but when I was home for my grandmother’s services I realized I had never gotten the closure I really needed.

It was a draining couple days, finally working through the grief that I hadn’t realized I was carrying with me. I think it can be easy to glaze over the process of letting go, we tell ourselves that it’s ok and that we’re too busy to really reflect. It’s an importance piece.

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2 comments

  1. I’m sorry to hear of your grandmother’s passing. And I’m also glad ot hear that you’ve figured out how to get closure. As you progress in your career, you’re going to bump into a ton of situations that rend the fabric of your well-being and this skill–knowing how to put the pieces back together–will help you know how to get through it. You are a stronger person and you will be a better physician for knowing this. It’s only through hardship that one builds character. May her passing be a gift to you.

  2. What a lovely tribute to your grandma. Cheers (with red wine!).

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