Loss seems to be a continual thing in our family. For me, each one seems to be worse than the last. As a kid my Grampa Rinehart died, then my Grandpa Gardner. After that it was my Grandma Polly, then my Uncle Richard, and then my Auntie Rose. I remember when my Auntie Rose died that my heart broke for my cousins. I couldn't imagine the pain of losing my mom and not having her there for the rest of my life.
A month after I graduated from nursing school and a few days before I took my NCLEX (nursing boards), my Gramma Rinehart died. She had been in and out of the hospital for a few months and she became very sick at the end. We knew it was her time. I asked my family not to tell me if she passed away before I took my test because I knew I would fall apart and not be able to do it. My mom came down to Seattle to drive me in for my test and to take me home afterwards. The first thing I asked her when I got in the car was whether my Gramma had died. She confirmed what I already knew deep in my heart. My Gramma was gone. This loss was the one that, so far in my life, had hit me the hardest. My Gramma was a nurse and she had been a huge support to me throughout nursing school. She encouraged me when I wanted to quit, she let me live with her for the summer before so that I could work at a surgery center in Seattle before my last semester of nursing school. She told me many stories about the things that had happened when she was in nursing school and how much things had changed. I broke up with my first boyfriend at her house and after he left I climbed into her bed and cried. She helped me practice my cooking skills the summer I spent at her house. She was always more than happy to feed me and whichever friends I brought over to visit. She had a candy jar that she always kept filled, even when I was older, I knew I could always count on her to have it full.
I cried for years (and still do) after I lost her. I miss her all the time. Whenever I drove past her exit on the freeway I thought of her. When I found out I had passed my NCLEX I wanted so badly to be able to tell her that I was really a nurse. I never got to do that. I wanted to be able to go and tell her about my first day of work. On my wedding day I thought about her and wished she could have been there. When we found out we were pregnant with twins I thought about how much she would have enjoyed having two new babies to add to her growing list of great grandchildren.
The pain of loss is similar, yet so different with each one. Of course I miss my Gramma every day, but I also had memories of her to hold on to. Cards she sent me, words she spoke to me, memories of things we did together. I knew that she had lived a good, long life. With Carter, I don't have those things. I have memories of holding my baby boy for a few hours, after he was already gone. I don't have memories of things he did or said. I will never know what his first birthday would have been like, or what it would be like to send him off to his first day of kindergarten. I will never get to know what kind of person he would have been or what he would have been like. I have just been thinking about him so much lately. We were so excited to bring Cohen home, but we also knew it would be hard. For me it has just really finalized that Carter is never coming home. That I will never get to have both of my boys together at home. Honestly, I would rather have him here with me. I know that he wouldn't want to come back, but I just want to hold him one more time. I miss my Gramma and Carter both so, so much. I am glad that at least they are together and that Gramma has already gotten to meet one of my boys. I hope she has her always filled candy jar in heaven for him.