The Hardest Six Months of My Life

I’ve had a lot of hard and difficult things happen in my lifetime. Way too many, actually. I have a hard time thinking positive, just because I know something bad is bound to happen soon. That’s just the way my life plays out.

I’ve also had the heartache of losing a crazy amount of people in my short 20-something lifetime. But absolutely nothing has hurt me as bad as losing my grandpa six months ago. It was so sudden. I didn’t have a chance to say goodbye. I never thought in a million years we would lose him so soon. He was the best man I have ever met in my life. And he was gone. So unexpectedly.

I spent months crying everyday on my way to  work. And being depressed. And sad. And trying to hide it the best I could. I couldn’t even see or hear an ambulance without having an anxiety attack and crying.

It’s all part of the grieving process. And I know that. I know it takes time. And I know that it never truly gets better, you just find a way to get through the day.

The day he passed, I came home and stayed awake writing a speech to read at my his funeral. I owed it to him. People deserved to know how I felt about him. I still read it from time to time and it makes me feel better. So, I thought I would share it here.

I can’t believe right now is the time I have to get up here and talk about my Grandpa. I thought I would have much more time, and many more memories to share with you all. But, I do have a few things I wanted to write down and share with you today.

When I think back to my childhood, 99% of my memories involve my grandparents. They have been there for me for everything. I remember when I was really little I would go outside and my papa would push me on the swing set and catch me while I jump off the second story of the play house. I always looked forward to going up north to Tawas and spending time with them every summer. Sometimes I had to go with one of my cousins, but secretly I loved going up there with them all by myself. My grandpa even took me out on the big fishing boat with him a few times. We never caught anything, but we watched while other people did. I loved when we got to ride into town, and one night on our trip we would always get to have a campfire! Those are memories that will forever be instilled in my mind and a city that will always have a special place in my heart.

It was around that same time when I was diagnosed with Perthes disease, a disease that affected my left hip that left me in leg braces and what felt like thousands of doctors’ appointments. We had to make trips to Ann Arbor frequently and my grandpa was the one that drove me every single time. We would count the golf courses on the way to know how close we were getting. There’s seven, by the way. I remember I would have to sit in a wheelchair and I loved when he would push me, because he would always push me fast! And before we left the hospital, he would always make sure I would have a brand new sticker for my sticker book. And sometimes they even took me to Big Boy for lunch! I always was extra good so maybe we could go there to eat!

It was during this time he bought a lawn mower for me to ride around the yard with. I know it was probably for all the kids, but he always had a way of making me feel special and so I thought he got it for only me. It was also around this same time they built a brand new sunroom onto their house. I remember just flying around the corners of the house and doing figure 8s while my mom was putting clothes on the outside line to dry. I remember just a singing and dancing away when all the sudden my gum fell out of my mouth and went straight into the gearshift hole. I started frantically searching for my gum, and the next thing I remember is my mom yelling my name and BOOM right into the brand new sun porch. I started bawling because I knew grandpa was going to kill me. And he came running out of the house, I’ve never seen an old man run so fast in my life. I was crying because I thought I was in some serious trouble, but they were worried because they thought I had been injured. They weren’t mad at all, but I’m sure it helped that the sunroom wasn’t even damaged.

My grandpa was a hardworking man. He took pride in everything he did. He was stubborn and bossy. If grandpa told you to do something, you did it right then. “God dammit.” And you better do it right. In fact, while looking through my pictures for today we came across some from my open house. He wasn’t a main person in any of the photos. You could, however, find him in 99% of the pictures running around the background with his mouth open and his finger pointed telling someone what to do. He was able to fix anything and would always have the perfect tool you needed. I knew if I needed something fixed, I could take it to grandpa and after he was done with it, it would be better than brand new. I knew when he told me, “come with me..” that I got to go play with him in his workshop! He was honest, didn’t take crap from no one and he knew everything about everything. And if he didn’t he would find out for you. His favorite lines were “You know.. you ought to..” and “turn on that lamp, will ya?”

I remember when I was little I spent a lot of time over my grandparent’s house. Every time I came into the house he would say “Hello there Sary” and pat me on the back while I gave him a hug. I always felt the love right when I walked into that house. You could tell how much he loved my grandma when he looked at her. From a young age I knew that was what true love looked like. I didn’t even think it was gross when he patted her butt every time he walked passed her! He was what a husband should be and more. And growing up I knew I wanted to be with a man that treated me the way my grandpa treated my grandmother. And I did. How relieved I was when Daniel visited my grandparents for the first time and they told me they loved him right away. He loved Daniel as his own grandson and I’m so incredibly grateful Daniel was able to meet and love grandpa as much as I did. I feel an incredible loss for even my unborn children. My whole life I’ve had this image in my head where I come to visit my grandparents with my family and have my children love and play with my grandpa just as I did when I was a child. I thought that I would have time, I thought we had many more wonderful years to spend with grandpa.

Last summer, I came home from work with excruciating stomach pains. I needed to go to the hospital and when I couldn’t get ahold of my mom, I called grandma and grandpa and they came in no time at all. I was in so much pain that I was losing conciseness, but I remember waking up and seeing my grandpa running a red light and practically squealing his tires around the corner to get me to the hospital faster. I always knew he was a bad ass. He even took me to a few of my doctors’ appointments then, just like old times. I had this appointment to get x-rays at 11 am one day. We thought it would be a pretty fast visit, but it ended up taking quite a long time with the tests I had to get done. I glanced at the clock and saw that it was after 1 and I frantically told the nurse we needed to hurry because my grandpa missed his lunch time! So when we left he told me how hungry he was and if I wanted to stop and get something, go home, or have grandma make us something at their house. I was starving, but I told him I would just go home and he said “Okay… nope” and turned so fast into Big Boy. Just like old times. I remember he got this little tiny sandwich and a big, huge chocolate milkshake. He asked if I wanted some of his shake, when I told him no, he said “good.. I wasn’t going to share with you anyway.” I thought it was hilarious he didn’t even finish his tiny sandwich, but he didn’t waste one drop of that shake!

I have the ultimate grandparents. The kind you only see in movies. The kind of grandparents everyone wishes they had, but don’t. He was the greatest grandpa I could have ever asked for, and I’m not saying that only because he is my grandpa, but because it is the truth. I wasn’t able to tell him everything I wanted to, but he knew how much I loved him. And I never had any doubts that he loved me, even if I had to be the first one to say it. He has always made me strive to be a better person and to take great pride in everything that I do in life. I always wanted to make my grandpa proud and I know that I did. I could keep going on and on about all the wonderful things that my grandfather was and did, but it wouldn’t be enough. I just feel incredibly blessed to have him as my grandfather and will miss him every single day of my life.

I spent the last several months just being depressed and not doing a whole lot to improve my life. But, I (re)started this whole weightloss journey on January 4th and I’m doing pretty well, if I do say so myself. I remember my grandpa being so proud of me when I first starting losing weight. And if he were still here, he would most definitely be giving me a lecture for giving up on that.

I hope this post finds you all doing well. I’m getting back to normal, I promise. It just took me awhile. I’ve got a lot of great ideas for this blog and I’m ready to start writing and being that “Funny Fat Girl” again.
Lots of love.

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5 responses to “The Hardest Six Months of My Life”

  1. Mom says:

    I am so proud of you Sara. You can do this!

  2. Melissa says:

    love Ya cuz!! I just know that Grandpa is smiling down at you from heaven and that he is very proud of you!! Just remember that he loves you.

  3. Jessica says:

    I read this again and cried and laughed just like when I heard it the first time. I love this so much it is so perfectly written in every way and he would have loved these kind and funny stories just as much. He was an amazing man and the impact he had on all of our lives will never be forgotten. Thank you for sharing that speech again. Love you Sara!

  4. Daniel says:

    Somethings it feels unreal that Harlan is not with us no more, I will always remember him and the way he was, such a kind person; but at least I have you an your family to remember him, because I see Harlan when I see you all together.

    Love you all!

  5. Kathy says:

    Sara, you are such a beautiful young woman. I always look forward to seeing you and Daniel. We will have to have some bonfires this summer. Grandpa was a very special man, I think of him every day. I know he is proud of all of his grandkids. Keep up the good work and thanks for sharing. Love you girl!

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