I did not grow up religious. I remember as a child believing in God. It was different times. We recited the Lord’s Prayer every day at school. We sang songs like “Jesus Loves Me” in kindergarten. I did a short stint at Sunday school before deciding I did not want to go back. My aunt used to take me to her old, ornate church downtown. The soothing sound of Father Pat’s voice combined with the stained glass windows surrounded me with a peaceful feeling.
In the past 10 months, I have found myself coming back to my spiritual being. While I don’t believe in God, I do believe in a higher power, and I believe in the universe, and I believe that there are angels helping me along my journey.
My grandmother was sick for much of the last 5-8 years of her life. Many physical ailments that I attribute to anxiety. After having suffered my own anxiety and panic attacks, I can see how it is possible that if her anxiety had been treated properly, that she might have suffered less.
My grandmother strongly believed that our astrological sign determined much of our personality. She was also quite religious and expressed her disappointment in my lack of conviction, often. All in all, I would say that she also believed as I do, in the universe and angels.
Last December we expected that my grandmother’s days of suffering physical and psychological pain, along side dementia, would come to an end. Her doctor told us it would not be much longer.
She held on.
We couldn’t figure out why. Her husband had died a year earlier. She was trapped in a body and mind that had turned against her. She no longer knew her family. She could only speak her mother tongue. English was lost to her. She could not communicate with anyone but my mother. And my mother lived 3 hours away from her.
In January, my life as I knew it blew up. Twelve days later, my grandmother died.
I remember thinking at the time, “really? really? right now?”
I have a great picture of my grandparents that was taken back in the ’60’s, at a convention of some sort. They look very swish and dapper. Very Mad Men. I remember looking at the picture of the two of them and saying out loud, “really?”
I always knew that my grandparents were leaving everything they had to me. I was their only grandchild. They had already lost one of their daughters, and that turning point in their life caused them to change their wills and give everything to me. I can speculate as to why they did that but I will never know for certain.
I never knew it would save my life. Figuratively speaking.
Had my grandmother died in December as we expected, I would have received my inheritance, deposited it into our joint bank account, and used it to pay off debt. I would have been left alone, and with no money to speak off. Because of course he would have still left.
Thankfully, where I live, inheritance is not divisible by a divorce. Even if I had received the money when we were still legally married. If I had kept it separate, he still would have no claim on it. However, I would have used it. All of it would have gone to debt. That is all we own. Debt.
With my rediscovered spirituality, I decided that my grandfather, who had died back in 2013, got my grandmother to hold on. Just a little bit longer. And while it was not ideal that she died when I was fully overwhelmed in grieving my marriage, it couldn’t have happened at a better time.
I say that the money has saved me. I try not to be frivolous with it, but having sacrificed for so long, sometimes it is hard.
That money though, is paying for my lawyer. Something I would not have been able to do. I do not have a job. I have no income of my own. Without my inheritance I would have been forced to sit down with a mediator and the ex. That would not have gone well.
I speak with my grandfather on a regular basis. I ask him for help. I ask him for strength. Sometimes he is subtle with his help. Sometimes he it pretty much smacks me right in the face.
Today I find myself in the city where they used to live. In the city where they lay to rest in the cemetery. I have been here often in the past two months. Interesting because I have never really liked this city. But it is the city where my someone new lives.
I decided that on one of my visits, I would take a trip to the cemetery. Today was the perfect day for it. A crisp, sunny fall day.
Their headstone and plot was bathed in sun. It was so warm. It made me grateful that they picked that spot. I can see that every day when the sun is out, there is a warmth that shines down on them.
I was able to sit today. In the grass and autumn leaves. I talked to my grandfather. A bit. It was the first time since he died where I really felt his absence. Where I realize how much I miss him. He was so wise, caring and kind. Although it would have broken his heart to see me go through what I have gone through, I would love to hear his thoughts. His insight. Feel his love.
Today I felt it. Sitting there with him. And my grandmother. And my aunt. I miss them all. I realized that I have not really ever taken a moment to mourn their deaths. To really reflect on how important they were to me. To feel how much I loved them.
Because I have rediscovered my spirituality, and I believe that the universe has a plan for me, I know that they are with me. Every day. Most especially my grandfather. Guiding me. Loving me. Helping me along the way. Showing me what I need to see, when I need to see it. Reminding me that all will be ok.
While sitting with my grandfather today, I started my book. His book actually. His story.
And so it begins.