Grief, Loss and My New Tattoo
I have been wanting to write about grief and loss for awhile. It’s just ridiculously hard to articulate the pain you feel when losing someone close to you. I didn’t want to make a long sad post either. It’s now been over a year since I lost my grandmother. I’m coping better and I recently got a new tattoo to honor her so I think I’m finally ready to share some thoughts.
On March 18, 2016, I lost my maternal grandmother, my Mamoumoune. I mentioned her in my Year in Review post…“The world’s best listener, the president of my fan club, a true OG, the originator of the savage life and the classiest, most beautiful and caring person you’d ever meet.” I believe in soulmates, but I believe that they extend beyond romantic partners. A soulmate is someone you connect with on a deep level, who knows and understands you like no one else can or will. It can be anyone in your life and you can have more than one. In my case, Mamoumoune was one of my soulmates. Being that I was her first grandchild, we had a very special relationship and a connection like no other. She was my BFF when I was little. She spoiled me to death, taught me how to properly drink tea and the benefits of Vicks, how to be a woman of class and elegance, and how to have impeccable manners. She got me hooked on music and dancing. She even did little things like making sure to bring my favorite baby doll with her when she picked me up from school. As I got older and moved to a different state, her visits were always the best times. I was obsessed with her and she was my biggest fan. Even as we got older, her kids (my mom, my uncle, and the 4 grandchildren) were her world.
I really struggled when she passed away, even though I didn’t always show it. To be honest, I still don’t. At first I kept reflecting in our last moments together which came just a couple weeks before she left us. She promised me she’d be my Guardian Angel, always in my business and looking out for me. She told me that I’m strong, just like her, and I’m going to make it, I’m going to be the doctor I’ve always wanted to be. Even today I still tear up about that…
Losing someone is devastating. The comforts are few and far between. People fill you with platitudes like “she’s in a better place” and constantly ask you how you’re doing which does little for a person grieving. We’re not really ok, and honestly even after all this time I’m not really sure we ever will be again. Learning to live, to function without a piece of yourself, is difficult and navigating through all that takes time and requires a lot of different emotions. BUT THAT’S OK! And that is perhaps the biggest lesson I’ve learned in all this…it’s ok to not be ok. You have good days and bad days, and sometimes the bad days are more frequent than good. Most days I just want to spend a solid 10 minutes with her. Just enough time for one more hug, some more encouraging words, a good laugh. I’ve found a lot of strength in my faith and in my family especially. Together we’ll stay strong and keep her legacy alive. I know I’ll keep her in my heart forever. The pain has dulled with time but it’s a hard, hard thing to lose someone.
For a long time I made sure to wear something of hers every day so I could feel close to her. She gave me a necklace that she said made her think of me because it has a big pink pearl with pink and green diamonds (like my sorority 🐸💕). I wear it every day. I incorporated some of her clothes into my wardrobe too (she was quite the fashionista). My sister, mom and I started talking about other ways to honor her and that’s when the idea of a tattoo came to life.
We spent some time going back and forth about what we wanted to get. Her name, her signature, something else in her handwriting…and where it would be best to place it. We chose to get “Love Mamoumoune” in her handwriting and I chose my shoulder, so she’d always be the angel on my shoulder, always with me, always guiding me. We took the writing from the birthday cards she never failed to send us and on May 4th, 2017 we finally did it!
I’m so happy with it. This is my second tattoo and definitely the one with the best story and most meaning. Now my angel truly is with me no matter where I go.
Losing someone is hard, the grief that comes after is probably even harder. I’m slowly but surely getting through it and with my new tattoo I feel stronger every day.
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