The Loss of Normal

“Grief is the loss of normal.” ― Brené Brown

When I heard these words in an online class by Brené Brown, I immediately thought of a moment in my life many years ago. Well, more than a thought really. It was like someone slapped me back into the body of the 17 year old girl sitting in a hospital room watching her beloved Grandfather die. I can still not think of that moment without my eyes welling up and a choking feeling in my chest.

Until that point of my life, I hadn’t experienced the loss of a close relative. I had lost pets and that was painful. I hadn’t lost a person. Someone who was very hard to live without. I loved my Grandpa very much. We lived a five minute drive from my grandparents’ home. I spent a lot of time there and he was a fixture in my life.

When he became ill I could hardly believe it. When the illness was pronounced terminal I was in a state of panic and probably denial. When he died I was broken.

It was the January 2nd, the day I spent by his bedside along with family: grown children, teenage grandchildren, and wife. His siblings and other family and close friends wandered in and out of the room all day paying their last respects. I remember having a hard time making eye contact with anyone else. I think I wasn’t alone in that. If we looked at each other, we might have to admit what was happening was real and permanent. I used all my will to not cry. Only possible by avoiding connection. The room felt like it was buzzing with electricity. To me, that was perfectly how “the loss of normal” feels. All I could do to hold on to what little reality I had left, was listen to the rattling breath of my Grandpa. He was struggling. I think I left around midnight. He died early morning.

When I received the journal prompts (story starters) and theme for the month at Simple Scrapper, I knew I wanted to tell this story. I don’t have a lot of photos of my Grandpa in those last years. I found one that had belonged to my Grandma, which was taken at his retirement party several months before he died. It wasn’t the greatest photo but it captures the Grandpa I knew and loved. I scanned it and edited it with Rad Lab to make it less stark on my layout. I also wanted it a bit dreamlike.

Here is the scanned photo:

grandpa

Here is the layout with the edited photo:

ritchie_mar14-story10_Lores

It was an emotional layout and I think I had a bit of trouble focusing. I made some errors trying to place the title, simply because grief lingers. Mistakes aside, I will cherish this layout.

My layout was made with a template and inspired by a journal prompt that comes with premium membership at the Simple Scrapper. I am linking up this post with my layout to the Simple Scrapper blog for the Community Show & Tell. Check out all the other layouts and add your own layout or creative project for everyone to see. For details on linking up, see the Simple Scrapper blog.

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