I Miss You.

Grief is such a strange thing. Yesterday I spent the entire day sobbing because I miss my grandmother so much. I sobbed while I worked, I cried while “getting out” and walking to the coffee shop and I was all tears while I prepared our dinner. I don’t have any idea what the trigger was–it wasn’t a date of any significance as far as I know. I think of her every day, but yesterday was more than just missing her–it was being crushed by the loss all over again.

My grandmother, Ellen Jacquelyn “Honey” Kennedy McCabe, passed away when I was 18 and I guess I feel cheated for not getting to know her as an adult. For not having her physically there for significant events in my adult life. We were so close and for me, this has become more distressing as I’ve gotten older because at 18 I really didn’t have a true grasp on the years ahead and what it would mean not to have her there. I just knew I missed her terribly then–right then–and wanted her back with all my heart. Then when you see your life start to fan out in front of you, the void becomes crystal clear.

I know I miss her hugs and kisses, laughter, wit, fun stories, unspoken understanding, interesting excursions, discerning taste, sense of adventure, omniscience… and well, maybe I want her approval–which is rarely the case with me (I’m a rebel, damn it!). I want to hear her thoughts and opinions. And advice–even the unsolicited variety would be so welcome coming from the likes of her.

Grief really sneaks up on you, doesn’t it? I know most of you can probably relate in some way. The only cure is the memories–I just hope I can hold them in my mind forever while still moving forward.

Top photo: Jackie “Honey” Kennedy getting ready on her wedding day. NY, 1951.
Bottom photo: Her 8th birthday with her mom (my Nana Ellen) and cousin. NY, 1938.

17 Responses to “I Miss You.”
  1. Chiara Chinellato says:

    A very lovely and touching post. You made me cry…

  2. Gisela&Zoe says:

    WOW! she is so gorgeous. i love that smile on her in the 2nd picture, so big and beautiful. i’m sorry, it is so hard. i was thinking and praying for my Grandma yesterday asking God to let her keep holding on until Zoe and I have the funds to go visit her (she lives in Honduras); because i too want to talk to her, spend time with her, hug her and appreciate her before she’s no longer with us. our Grandmas are such a gift!

  3. Megan says:

    I’m so sorry Jen, you’re right about grief being such a strange thing and sneaking up on you. I lost my father last year and while most days I’m able to function as a normal human there are some days I’m just completely devastated and unable to function. I hope it will get easier with time but I know there will always be bad days.

    Your grandmother seems like she was such a vibrant and inspiring lady and I’m sure she’s proud of you for keeping her memory (and amazing name!) alive with your blog. Thank you for being so brave and sharing, grief isn’t talked about enough and is such an integral part of life.

  4. jacqueline says:

    I’m bowled over by this post. Grief is a complicated emotion, and I am so sorry these feelings are hitting you so strongly right now. Your grandmother sounds like a wonderful human being to have had in your life. You are definitely keeping her memory alive.

  5. awww, I wish I can give you a real hug, not some cheesy internet hug. Soon.

  6. Debbe says:

    You WILL remember her always. I had the same relationship with my grandmother and was so lucky she lived into my 30’s and her late 90’s. Pictures help – and while the memories can make you sad – they’ll often make you smile wide as you think of her by your side smiling right back at you. Cause you know how much she loved you.

  7. querencia says:

    My heart goes out to you. Sometimes, what feels like entirely out of the blue and unconnected to anything, there’s a crushing longing for my mom that seems unbearable. Except you do just keep functioning. I’m glad for all the good and beautiful and thank you for sharing both sides of it.

  8. kater says:

    Oh, this post. It’s so close to my heart, and I didn’t even write it! I think of the people I’ve lost like this, but my grandmother especially I think, every day and it’s just as heartbreaking as it’s always been, just that sometimes it’s easier not to cry about it than other days.

    But it’s all alright I guess, we muddle through!

  9. Georgia K says:

    I know exactly what you mean. Clink clink to marvelous grandmothers.

    Lots of love,

  10. I’m so sorry for your loss. I lost my mother at the age of 18 and can completely relate to feeling a void as time goes by. The scariest thing for me is forgetting. I cry a lot over forgetting the details of my mother. I miss her terribly just like you miss Honey. Hang in there lady. I’m sure she would be very proud of you!

  11. Sasha says:

    much love, girl. your grandma would be so proud of you. xoxoxo

  12. Shana says:

    Lovely post. And as I said, I miss mine like crazy too.

  13. Hila says:

    Oh Jen, I know how you feel, I really do. Grief is a strange beast. There are times I find myself crying for someone I lost, someone I loved very much, completely baffled by the enormity of the grief and its suddenness, when I thought I had gotten over his death. There’s really nothing to do but cry and let yourself feel what you’re feeling. I’ve tried fighting it, and it doesn’t work.

    I feel for you so much reading this, please email me if you’d like a chat with a sympathetic ear.

    Take care!

  14. I really know how you feel, I hope that you feel better. My own amazing Nan passed away just a month ago, so grief is still pretty raw for me. It sneaks up on you and something so little can set you off whereas other days you can be fine.

  15. daria says:

    the pictures are gorgeous. my grandma passed when I was 23 and it was still very, very soon…

  16. Sarahbeth says:

    Oh Jen,

    What a beautifully worded post. I’m thinking of you. And thinking of all the ways loss comes to us. It’s interesting to think of 18 – we were so sure back then weren’t we all? Not realizing we haven’t even begun to form yet.

    Such an honest and heartfelt post. It moved me.

  17. Anna McClurg says:

    I very much can relate to what you’ve written. I actually was thinking about my grandma last week, though she hasn’t passed away. Her sister passed away a few days ago and it made me sad to think how my grandma must feel, having so many of her loved ones and people who have been close to her pass away. I had to write her and tell her how much I loved her, though sometimes it is hard to say the words. I feel much of what you do about my grandpa, though. He passed away when I was still young and I feel I didn’t get to know him as much as I would have liked. I love that he wrote a letter to all of his family before he died, giving bits of advice and telling us about things in his life he was happy about. Thanks for sharing about your grandmother. I bet she was really a wonderful woman!

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