• Bre'a Belle

I'll Be Missing You

Updated: Sep 23, 2019

Have you ever had a happy place that made you feel like nothing else in the world mattered? Have you ever found that in a person? Like someone so pure that they could say anything to you and it would calm your soul? Someone that could make life seem so effortless no matter what kind of cards they've been dealt? Someone that you could just look at and know that they loved you unconditionally? Someone that you needed so badly that you begin to panic at the slightest thought of being without them? I've had so many of those people in my life and I still have all of them except for one.

When Luvenia Edwards left this earth, she took a huge piece of my heart with her. I know some people don't even get to meet their grandparents. I was lucky enough to spend a big portion of my childhood with my grandparents and great-grandparents. Draven and Devin are the only two great great grandchildren.

I always felt like life was rather unfair to her. She was a woman that loved to work with her hands whether it was cooking or doing crafts with her grandchildren. Eventually she developed ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a disease where tiny spores latch onto your spinal cord and harden, inhibiting your ability to move and in most cases, your diaphragm weakens to the point where you can't even breathe on your own). It's similar to MS but the only difference is that MS also causes damage to the brain. ALS patients' minds aren't affected. The average life expectancy for an ALS patient is only a few months after the onset of the illness. We still have no idea how Granny ended up living with it for almost 20 years.

I don't know how she woke up every single day with a smile on her face. She had my paw paw to do everything for her like eating, bathing, getting dressed, and even doing her make up. They taught me what true love really was. She even taught me how to check her blood sugar, get her medicines, and give her insulin shots. She taught me how to bake cupcakes from scratch (it made my arms feel like I had bench pressed a ton of bricks).

Because of her, I always saw the light at the end of a long and draining tunnel. She lived for teaching us so many important lessons and without even realizing it, she taught us to be grateful that we got to wake up everyday and that just being alive was enough to be thankful for.

The last time I saw her was the night she was in the emergency room because she was battling pneumonia (an incredibly lethal illness for ALS and elderly patients). She was scared. Like, truly scared. I stood by the bed she was in and tried my best to remain calm. As she cried, she told me that she was afraid because she didn't know where she was going (they were about to transfer her to a more equipped hospital). All I could say was, "It'll be okay, Granny," and continued to stand by her until they loaded her into an ambulance.

No one knows how many times I've replayed that moment in my head. I realize now that what we both said was so much deeper than we were prepared for. I think I needed the reassurance that things were going to be okay more than she did. So many days passed when she was at the hospital in Charleston and every single day, I drove myself crazy trying to come to the terms with the fact that she might not make it through that illness. I eventually started smoking (I wish I hadn't have), but it was the only thing that could make it easier to force myself to accept the fact that my time with her was about to be cut short.

When she passed away, everything felt so empty. I had my good days and I had my bad ones. Back then, good days were just the days where I walked around like an emotionless zombie. But on my bad days, crying took every ounce of my energy. Grief feels like a hole has been punched in your chest because you're crying so hard. It literally feels like my chest is aching and still to this day, I feel like I have to keep my arms wrapped around myself or I'll fall apart. Death had never phased me like that. When family members died in the past, I was a small child and only a few of them were really close to me as far as blood went. But losing Granny felt like a piece of my heart had been cut out. I wouldn't be able to walk up on their porch anymore and see her watching Days of Our Lives through the big picture window. I wouldn't be able to sit at the kitchen table and just talk about random things with her anymore. I wouldn't be able to ask her any and every question I could think of and know that she knew the answer. I couldn't go into her room to find her laying in bed telling me to sit Draven next to her, in the same spot she would always have me or the rest of us kids sit.

Half of my heart was gone and it felt like there was a void that would never be filled again. I grew cold and tried my very best to stay numb when we moved into Paw Paw's house and slept in their bedroom for a whole year. Sometimes I felt angry and sometimes I didn't feel anything at all. I felt like I was stumbling around in a nightmare. I felt so lost without her. I needed her approval for some things and her help with others and without her being there, I had no idea what I was supposed to do without her advice and wisdom.

I saw that I was isolating myself from the rest of my family and I knew that I was being thrown into a dark period of depression again.

Death effects everyone differently, but some of us end up losing someone in particular and it nearly kills us. I wanted so badly to be able to see her in the crowd at my wedding or to be there to meet Thomas and Devin. They say time heals all wounds, but I wish I knew when this one would go away.

When somebody dies, it's perfectly fine to question it whether they've lived a full life or not. Granny was in her 80s with a great-great-grandchild when she passed away and I still asked, "Why couldn't she spend just a little more time with us?" It's okay to cry and feel that pain. Sometimes, it will consume you and sometimes it will take a while before you feel normal again. It's okay to take as much time as you need to before you have a regular day again. Grieving takes days, weeks, months, and even years and it's all natural. It's always different. It's okay to fall apart but I learned that you have to pick up the pieces because they wouldn't want your life to come to a halt because of their passing. I know that Granny would have wanted me to move on and eventually get back on my feet to work toward my future and that's exactly what I did.

My depression took a serious nose dive at the beginning of 2015 and it really made me take a step back to see what was going on in my life and I knew that I needed to keep pushing. As long as I'm living I have to keep on moving until I feel like I'm completely content with my life. Grief made me see things in a totally different light. It was sad and heartbreaking, but it was a valuable lesson.

"Every single day, every time I pray, I'll be missing you..."