Person grieving underneath a huge ocean wave.

Waves of Grief: Missing My Gramps With Alzheimer's

It's been 14 years since I last saw his face and heard his words. Waves came over me today like it was the day he left. Waves of grief. You forget that you grieve your loved one for life. You forget that it still hurts your heart that your loved one is no longer here. You forget that time doesn't erase the grief. You march without them physically here, but the grief comes with you. You don't forget your suffering, but you do when it isn't fresh.

Grief finds you when you least expect it

You find ways to cope. You find ways to deal. You find ways to walk with the grief. But it is still there. Like sitting peacefully on a beach enjoying the day. When you suddenly get hit by a wave, you are now aware. There is your grief. It's always there, just easier to look at some days or walk next to other days. Still always there. It doesn't leave you because you've made the year mark without your loved one. It doesn't suddenly get easier at the five-year point. Even a decade later, grief sneaks up and knocks you off your feet.

Grief never leaves. It walks with you always. We are able to look at it differently at certain points in our lives. We have distractions and times where we feel like we walk through it, but we don't. It stays by our side. Out of nowhere, it can take us out and surprise us. It's okay to fall to the ground in a puddle of sadness and grief, even after over a decade from the moment they left us.

Love is a beautiful thing

For a loved one, the loss is a lifetime of memories stored in our hearts that like to make their reappearance ever so often. In the beginning, those memories overcame me like tidal waves. Now, as the years have waned on without the presence of my sweet Gramps, the waves are surprising. They come out of nowhere, and they completely knock me off my feet. I look around at what just happened. It's love. We grieve because we love. It's such a beautiful thing to love and be loved.

If you grieve hard, then you love and still do love harder. Your loved one was an incredible person who left lasting imprints on your life. Those can't go away. Sometimes, we miss those in-person moments, that love is irreplaceable; and the grief overcomes us. There is no timeline to our grief and we may carry our grief with us to the end of our own lives.

Grief has no end

It's been 14 years since I said goodbye to my Gramps. Not a day goes by that I don't think of him. I've always been able to think of him with such love in my heart and a smile on my face. But grief is still there. It still walks next to me through moments. Moments he missed that I wish we could've shared. Moments that he would've wanted to be a part of and enjoy. Moments that, I had questions and wondered what he would have to say about it. Moments where his presence was what I needed. Grief embeds my life and my moments.

There is no right or wrong way to grieve. There is no time expiration on grief. You walk through life, and you carry grief with you. Waves of grief continue throughout.

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