As hard as it is to say good-bye to someone you loved and someone who helped make you who you are today, it's no picnic finding a reminder of that person just when it stopped feeling so raw. Today I was going through a pile of pictures I'd printed and put away from the week of family gatherings this fall leading up to us putting my grandfather in hospice care and then his passing a few days later. One of my best friends in all the world was my grandma (and his wife of 58 years) and her leaving us while I was 9 months pregnant with my youngest was the single hardest experience of my life. It hurt so deeply to know that while my older kids were able to have the relationship and memories I hoped with her, sweet Allie would never know her. That's where her and Bpa's (unable to pronounce Great-Grandpa..she always called him Bpa) bond kicked in. He told us that my grandmother would have just loved her so much that he felt it was his duty to love her enough for the both of them. Boy he sure did, because she talked about him all the time and was always thrilled to go visit even though he was in a nursing home and that can be a little intimidating for little ones.
We never really told her what was going on because I didn't feel the need to traumatize a two year old now over something she wouldn't remember 20 years from now. But there was a magically moment during the middle of the burial ceremony while Taps was being played and we were awaiting the military to make their way across the field so the flag ceremony could begin when she looked off into the distance over my husbands shoulder and waved at seemingly no one and said very clearly, "Bye-bye Bpa." It still send shivers down my spine to remember, but is a comfort at the same time. One of my Uncle's who was capturing photographs of the military ceremony caught this moment on film and it's a photo that will always bring me sadness and joy, but most of all comfort.
The sketch I followed for this treasured photograph was posted at Stuck?! Sketches on January 1st. Click on over to give it a go too!
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